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Terror On A Tram: Man Shoots Dead Three And Wounds Five

Dutch police have arrested a Turkish man suspected of shooting dead three people and wounding five on a tram in the city of Utrecht on Monday.

Utrecht police announced the suspect, 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis, had been taken into custody.

The shooting was reported at 10.45am (local time, 8.45pm AEST) at 24 Oktoberplein tram station after a man opened fire on a tram. Three people were killed and five others were injured, but police did not immediately confirm details about the victims.

Images from the scene appear to show at least one body lying next to a tram, under a white sheet.

Soon after the shooting, Utrecht police confirmed they were investigating a 'possible terrorist' link.

Dutch Tram Shooting
Police have arrested the main suspect for the shooting. Image: Reuters.

The city was put into lockdown after the shooting, shortly after the morning rush hour, which authorities initially said was an apparent terrorist attack. Police conducted raids in several locations.

But hours after the shooting, the gunman’s motive remained unclear. A prosecutor said it could be for “family reasons” and Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, quoting relatives of the gunman, said he had fired at a relative on the tram and had then shot at others who tried to help her.

Helicopters hovered over the usually quiet medieval town.

Image: Google Maps

READ MORE: 'Possible Terrorist' In Tram Shooting: One Dead, Multiple People Injured

Authorities had raised the terrorism threat in Utrecht province to its highest level, schools were told to shut their doors and paramilitary police increased security at airports, other vital infrastructure and at mosques.

All tram services in the city were also stopped. An area around the 24 Oktoberplein station was cordoned off for security reasons.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte convened crisis talks immediately after the incident, which came three days after a lone gunman killed 50 people in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

READ MORE: 'Kia Kaha': The World Mourns With Christchurch And New Zealand

“Our country has today been shocked by an attack in Utrecht... A terrorist motive cannot be excluded,” Rutte said.

Police attend the scene of the shooting. Image: Getty Images

“The first reports have led to disbelief and disgust. Innocent people have been struck by violence... We are now doing everything we can to find the perpetrator or perpetrators as soon as possible. That is now our complete focus.”

Dutch police issued an image of Tanis and warned the public not to approach him.

The mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen, said three people had been killed and nine injured, three of them seriously. The number of injured was later lowered to five.

Emergency services at the 24 Oktoberplace where a shooting took place in Utrecht. Image: EPA.

Van Zanen called the attack a "horrible and radical incident in which victims have fallen".

"My thoughts are with them and their loved ones. I am in close contact with the police and the public prosecutor," he wrote in a statement.

Utrecht is the Netherland's fourth largest city and a 45-minute drive south of Amsterdam. It's known for its medieval canals and large student population.

With Reuters.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au