Dutch police were yesterday investigating a suspected terror attack at Amsterdam’s Central Station, in which two people were stabbed before the assailant was shot by police.
The assailant was identified as an 19-year-old Afghan man with a German residency permit.
The injured were US citizens, US Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra said in a statement.
The pair were tourists visiting the city, Hoekstra said.
“We are seriously taking into account that there was a terrorist motive,” Amsterdam police spokesman Frans Zuiderhoek told reporters.
Witnesses described scenes of panic as gunshots rang out, and thousands of commuters and tourists were evacuated from the rail terminus shortly after midday.
“A man in the west side tunnel of Amsterdam Central Station stabbed two other people and directly after that he was shot by the police,” police spokesman Rob van der Veen said, adding that terrorism was not being ruled out by investigators.
“The two people are very badly injured and they were brought to the hospital,” he said. “We are looking at all scenarios, also the worst scenario, which is terrorism.”
One witness said he saw a young man “stumble” into his flower shop at the station with a bleeding wound to his hand.
“Shortly afterward I heard some shots and I know something has gone badly 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 up in your mind is that it’s a terror attack. After all, you are at Amsterdam Central Station. There was a lot of panic,” Snelders said.
Police quickly arrived at the scene with video images showing police ordering the suspect in English to “stay down” after he had been shot.
Images posted on social media showed security guards ushering passengers toward exits and paramedics arriving at the scene with stretchers.
The assailant’s condition was not life-threatening, Zuiderhoek said, adding that he had been shot in the lower body.
“At this moment he is under police custody in hospital. He is being questioned about his motive,” he added.
Dutch police were also in close contact with their German counterparts in regards to the suspect’s background, he said.
Two platforms at the station — located in the Dutch capital’s historic canal-ringed city center — had been evacuated and closed off to passengers, police said, and were reopened for rail traffic two hours later.
A special police department opened a routine probe into why police shot the man.
The Netherlands has so far been spared from the slew of terror attacks that have rocked its European neighbors in the past few years.
Police declined to speculate on the reasons for Friday’s incident, but the Afghan Taliban in a statement on Thursday called for attacks on Dutch troops following plans by Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders to stage a Prophet Mohammed cartoon competition in the Dutch parliament.
Wilders, who received several death threats, has since canceled the competition, which has angered Muslims and sparked protests.
Additional reporting by Reuters
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting