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Double stabbing at the Amsterdam station in possible terrorist attack

Double stabbing at the Amsterdam station in possible terrorist attack

Amsterdam: Dutch police were investigating on Saturday a suspected terrorist attack at Amsterdam’s central station, in which two people were stabbed before the police shot the thug.

The aggressor was identified as a 19-year-old Afghan man with a German residence permit.

“We are seriously considering that there was a terrorist motive,” Amsterdam police spokesman Frans Zuiderhoek told AFP.

The first witnesses described scenes of panic when shots were heard and thousands of travelers and tourists were evacuated from the railway terminal shortly after noon.

“A man in the tunnel on the west side of Amsterdam Central Station stabbed two other people and immediately after was shot by the police,” said another police spokesman, Rob van der Veen, adding that investigators did not rule out terrorism.

“The two people are seriously injured and were taken to the hospital,” he said.

“We are seeing all the scenarios, also the worst scenario, which is terrorism.”

One witness said he saw a young man “stumble” in his flower shop at the station with a bleeding wound on his hand.

“Shortly after I heard some shots and I know something went wrong,” Richard Snelders told the ANP news agency. A while later he saw another man lying on the ground nearby, he said.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that it is a terrorist attack, after all, you are in Amsterdam Central Station, there was a lot of panic,” Snelders said.

– ‘Stay down’ –

Police came quickly to the scene with video footage showing the police ordering the suspect in English to “stand still” after being shot.

The images published on social networks showed the security guards who took the passengers to the exits and the paramedics who arrived at the place with stretchers.

Police spokesman Zuiderhoek said the condition of the knife was not a threat to life, but that it had been shot in the lower part of the body.

“At the moment he is in police custody at the hospital, he is being interrogated about his motive,” Zuiderhoek added.

The Dutch police were also in close contact with their German counterparts regarding the suspect’s background, he added.

Two platforms at the station, located in the historic center of the Dutch capital, surrounded by canals, were evacuated and closed to passengers, police said, and were reopened for rail traffic two hours later.

A special police department opened a routine investigation into why the police shot the man.

The Netherlands has so far escaped the series of terrorist attacks that have shaken its closest European neighbors in recent years.

But in the midst of a series of scares and reports that people linked to some of those attacks may have briefly crossed the country, the top Dutch intelligence and security officials have stressed that the level of threat is substantial.

Police declined to speculate on the reasons for Friday’s incident, but the Afghan Taliban in a statement called for attacks on Dutch troops following the plans of Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders to organize a blasphemous caricature competition in the Dutch parliament.

Wilders, who received several death threats, has since canceled the competition that has angered Muslims and sparked protests, saying he wanted to “avoid the risk of turning people into victims of Islamist violence.”

Around 250,000 people travel through the Central Station every day, according to statistics provided by the Amsterdam.info travel guide.

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