Utrecht gunman left letter in getaway car signalling possible terrorism motive
Dutch authorities said Tuesday they were “seriously” investigating a possible terrorist motive for the Utrecht tram attack because of evidence including a letter found in the gunman’s getaway car. Police were questioning Turkish-born main suspect Gokmen Tanis, 37, and two other men over Monday’s rampage in which three people were killed and seven injured, three seriously.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had earlier said they “cannot exclude” other motives including a family dispute, but police and prosecutors said on Tuesday that the probe was leaning towards terrorism. “So far, a terrorist motive is seriously being taken into account. This is based on a letter found in the getaway car among other things and the nature of the facts,” police and prosecutors said in a joint statement. “Our investigation has established no link between the main suspect and the victims.”
The three people who died in the shooting were a 19-year-old woman from Vianen, south of Utrecht, and two men aged 28 and 49 from Utrecht itself, the statement said. Armed police captured Tanis after an eight-hour manhunt that virtually shut down the Netherlands’ fourth largest city and triggered a nationwide increase in security at airports and key sites. Police said they had found a red Renault Clio used as a getaway car after the attack. They had also found a firearm after his arrest, they added.
Tanis and two other men aged 23 and 27 are still being interrogated, police said. A stream of mourners laid flowers on Tuesday at the site of the attack near the 24 Oktoberplein square. “One of the victims was my friend’s girlfriend. So coming here today was the least I could do,” Marco van Rooijen, 43, told AFP. “I am here to pay homage to the victims and to support their families,” added local resident Yvette Koetjeloozekoot, 29. Flags were flying half-mast on many buildings around the Netherlands. Public transport was running again after forensic police finished their investigations at the scene and removed the tram on which the shooting erupted. Rutte was chairing a cabinet meeting on the attack, which has raised security fears a day before provincial elections in the Netherlands. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country’s intelligence agency was “looking into” the attack. “Some say it is a family matter, some say it is a terror attack … Our intelligence agency is looking into the matter”, Erdogan told Ulke TV late Monday. Dutch media have reported that the suspect had a long rap sheet and was only released from jail two weeks ago on a number of charges.
Broadcaster NOS reported that some people close to him had links to fundamentalist Islamic groups, but also that he had divorced his wife two years ago. Police and witnesses said gunfire broke out on the tram on Monday morning, sending people fleeing and triggering a huge police response. Mosques and schools were closed across Utrecht following the bloodshed, before heavily armed officers surrounded a building and arrested Tanis. Support for the Netherlands poured in from around the world including the United States, the EU and Russia. bv US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “America stands with you. We will continue to do all we can to help you in this terrible time of tragedy.”
In my new position as treasurer of the Nimwegen Byzantine Choir I surprised my fellow boardmembers last Tuesday with an order of 100 stamps with the logo of the choir. And they arrived today. Half goes to the lady who takes care of sending cards to all members on their birthday, but also sick people get her attention. The remaining 50 are divided over the 5 boardmembers. It is the strict intention, that all outbound mail of the choir carries the Byzantine stamp.
The number of wine companies from Dutch soil is still modest, but due to the experience and the good weather, the quality improves. The Dutch wine sector is not very popular on a global scale: vineyards were planted on 157 hectares of Dutch soil, Statistics Netherlands counted last year. The regional agricultural figures came out yesterday. In comparison, in France, all vineyards cover about 800,000 hectares. Nevertheless, we do not do badly as a mini player. “The quality is getting better and better,” says wine writer and expert Harold Hamersma. According to him, that is mainly because the experience is growing. “The wineproducers work fanatically on small plots, which often have no football field yet. They know the grapes personally, so to speak. Moreover, they often hire consultants for advice. And the climate seems to be better and better. We are starting to become a wine country. “
We come from far, outlines Hamersma. “The Romans took the vines in their hand luggage back then, but Napoleon has ended the viticulture in our country. Now it picks up again. But compared to other countries we are a mini producer. We have fewer than ten companies per province and the total number of bottles produced is 1.2 million. Only 30 million bottles have been made from Lindeman’s Chardonnay. What we do fits in the backyard of an Australian wine company.” Sometimes Hamersma sometimes tastes ‘cold potato juice’. “Then a maker will know that he is not there yet.” “But there are really good wines. In the business class of KLM, travelers get a Zeeland wine. “And not because it is dirty. You have such nice companies. De Linie in Made, Frysling in Friesland, Apostelhoeve in Limburg. ”
His company has a lot of experience, explains Mathieu Hulst from the Apostelhoeve. ,,We are the oldest commercial wine company, that counts.” Another advantage: the location. Limburg has more hills than the rest of the country so that the vines catch more sun. Classic grape varieties such as the Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc do well on that soil. What is in the ground can also help: lime, marl, iron.
Red wine remains difficult in our country, thinks Bernard Nauta of Anderewijn.nl. “Fresh white wine and sometimes rosé.” “That has everything to do with the grape varieties: the classics need a lot of heat, while the new varieties are crossed so that they can withstand the cold better. The Johanniter for example. “Winemakers are becoming increasingly smart to make acceptable wine in this climate.”
Still, the classic grapes will eventually take over, thinks Hulst of the Apostelhoeve. “The turning point came in 1985. From the year after we see more peaks in temperature, more heat waves and day temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius.” This summer is extreme, which could well result in good wine. ,, We will not know until next year, but we are already going to pick on September 10 this year. A month earlier than usual! “” The wines are getting better, “said vinologist Jeroen van Mierlo. “Besides the fact that almost all Dutch wines are ‘technically correct’, we see that more and more progress has been made in recent years on the flavor richness and complexity of Dutch wines. You can say that quality of Dutch wine is getting better. The wines become more interesting, tastier and better used for gastronomy. A nice addition to Dutch regional products. ”
The pride in their own, local products boost sales, Hamersma sees. “There is a growing respect for products from the neighborhood. People like to drink a wine from Noord-Holland with Texel’s lamb and a Zeeland wine with Zeeuwse samphire.” “That enthusiasm does have a solid price tag, because of the small-scale production. “A bottle is often 10 to 20 euros,” says Hamersma. ,,And that does not matter to people easily. There is only one small group that is willing to spend such an amount.”
Disciplines per date where the Dutch Olympic Team (Team NL) participates:
The US Department of Foreign Affairs distances itself from the statements made by Pete Hoekstra in 2015 that politicians are set on fire in the Netherlands. Minister of State Steve Goldstein states that the new American ambassador in The Hague regrets. “The ambassador made mistakes in 2015 and made statements that he should not have done. He realizes that”, says Goldstein. ,,We have made it clear to the ambassador that he has to continue to leave this behind. And he understands that very well.” Goldstein also refers to the ambassador’s tweet in December. In it, Hoekstra apologized after an interview in which he denied earlier statements about, among other things, no-go areas in the Netherlands.
Hoekstra refused to say two days ago whether he still believes that politicians are being set on fire in the Netherlands, as he claimed in the past. At a press conference shortly after he had handed over his credentials to King Willem-Alexander, Hoekstra repeatedly avoided questions from journalists about this. ,,I am not going to discuss this topic again”, said Hoekstra. The new ambassador, who counts as a confidant of President Trump, mentioned his own statements about the burning politicians and that in our country there were ‘no-go zones’ at the end of last year in an interview with Nieuwsuur ‘fake news’. Then he denied that he had used that word. Hoekstra then offered apologies in a statement via Twitter, but only for the Nieuwsuur interview.
Hoekstra says, after the upcoming commotion, he had not considered a moment to withdraw himself as an ambassador. “The president has selected me because he thinks I am the right man for this job. The Senate has confirmed my appointment. One interview has no impact on that”, Hoekstra said on a question from this newspaper. Hoekstra will talk to a news medium in the Netherlands today to record it.
Hungry fox enters villages in village in Betuwe region.
Hobby farmers with chickens and rabbits please note: the fox is coming. Especially in Lingewaard the population is “completely out of the claws”. On Sunday evening a fox was signaled at the Kapelstraat in Gendt. “In the floodplains, they have already eaten a large part of the animals that run around there, so they are now looking for food in the built-up bowl. A worrying situation. And because they are too much, they also spoil the pasture birds, which are so heavy”, suggests hunt seeker Willy Jansen of Wildlife Management Unit Overbetuwe.
Now there are about thirty foxes in Lingewaard; Fifteen males and just as many females. But at the end of this month, five more boys will be added to each other. Then more than a hundred foxes suddenly run around. Especially ducks, chickens, pheasants and rabbits in Doornenburg, Angeren and Gendt, where the hungry fox trapped between the rivers, has been warned. “At some point, we must come into action to maintain the diversity of wildlife. Control and damage control. But the problem is that we are not allowed to hunt for a large part of the Klompenwaard and in the Gendtse, Bemmelse and Huissen. And soon in a large part of Park Lingezegen no longer. That is the area of state forestry”, says Jansen.
The Gendtse Forestry Rick Basten of National Bush Maintenance has a tip for hobby farmers if they do not want to become a victim of the predator. “To protect the chickens and rabbits, it is advisable to place a half meter netting in the ground”, he advises. Jansen argues that Lingewaard can actually be hunted in too many places. “The government wants to maintain the stock of hare, rabbits, pheasants and pastures by specifying areas that can not be hunted. If the total supply of food would be enough, that would not be bad. But that is not the case. The large number of foxes eats everything and then shreds the built-in bowl”.