Gokmen Tanis (pictured) is suspected of shooting three people dead on a tram in Utrecht on Monday
An older brother of the suspected Dutch tram shooter has links to a Turkish jihadist movement and has fought in Chechnya, it has been claimed.
Two elder siblings of Gokmen Tanis were described by neighbours as strict Muslims while one of them has worked in a taxi firm with a known extremist in the city of Utrecht.
Gokmen is alleged to have shot three people dead and seriously injured three others after opening fire on a city tram on Monday.
He remains in custody while another 40-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday as Dutch police and prosecutors pursue ‘every lead there is’.
The eldest brother has links to the Turkish extremist movement Caliphate, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
The movement is led by Germany-based Metin Kaplan, dubbed the Caliph of Cologne, who was imprisoned in Turkey in 2005 for plotting to overthrow the constitution and planning a terror attack.
The brother’s links to Chechnya are unclear but he is said to have trained there. Fighters in the Muslim-majority region fought two bloody wars with the Russian government in the 1990s.
One of the brothers is apparently a partner in a taxi firm with an Utrecht activist linked to the Caliphate movement.
Prosecutors have until Friday to question the Turkey-born suspect before he must appear before an investigating judge who could extend his detention.
Emergency: Dutch special police forces inspect the tram in Utrecht after a gunman opened fire in the public transport carriage and killed three people
Tributes: Students lay flowers yesterday near the site of the shooting as Dutch police and prosecutors pursue ‘every lead there is’
Fearing more than one shooter was active, authorities locked down the city for hours – halting public transport and advising residents to stay indoors – until Tanis was arrested.
Today police spokesman Joost Lanshage said officers had arrested a 40-year-old man in Utrecht on Tuesday and released two other men detained earlier.
Officials have said they are seriously considering an extremist motive after finding a note in a suspected getaway car after the attack.
Investigators said they had not yet determined any relationship between the alleged shooter and the victims.
The three people who died were a 19-year-old woman from the neighboring town of Vianen, and two men aged 28 and 49 from Utrecht.
Respects: Many people could be seen carrying flowers to 24 Oktoberplein square in central Utrecht yesterday to pay tribute to the victims of Monday’s shooting
Investigation: Police officers are seen in front the building where the main suspect of the shooting was arrested in Utrecht
Tanis, a 37-year-old man of Turkish descent, was being held on suspicion of ‘manslaughter with terrorist intent.’
In an unusual step, judicial authorities released details of Tanis’ criminal past, and said he was released from jail on March 1 and faces trial in July on a rape charge.
A court had approved his release after he pledged to cooperate with authorities.
In the past, he was acquitted of manslaughter but convicted of illegal possession of a weapon and theft.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte said that because of the attack in Utrecht, ‘we feel an even stronger bond with the people of Christchurch’ following the shooting there.
Rutte said the shooting ‘was not a bad dream but the hard reality with which we woke up.’