Four killed in attack on Dutch royal parade (Lead)

April 30th, 2009 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Amsterdam, April 30 (DPA) Four people were killed Thursday when a car ploughed into spectators in what police described as a deliberate attack on a parade attended by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Five people were seriously injured and eight others suffered minor injuries in the incident in Apeldoorn, the town’s mayor Freed de Graaf told a press conference.

A police spokesperson confirmed that the attack was deliberate but was unable to say what the motive was.

No explosives were found in the car, the spokesperson added.

A black Suzuki Swift smashed through barriers, hitting several people and dragging some along the road with it.

It then crashed into a monument close to an open-top bus with the queen and her family on board. The royals were attending Queen’s Day celebrations, a national holiday in the Netherlands.

“It’s a bloodbath. Terrible,” said a woman in a television interview. “It could only be an attack,” a man added.

The driver of the car survived the crash but sustained serious injuries. Firefighters removed him from the wreckage of the car. He later underwent surgery.

The 38-year-old has no history of mental health problems, the police said.

Officers meanwhile took immediate action to ensure the safety of the royal family.

Queen Beatrix expressed her “deepest sympathy” for the dead and the survivors. She cancelled a ceremonial march-past scheduled in memory of her mother.

Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende said it was “a sad day for the Netherlands”.

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