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Car tries to ram Dutch queen, 4 die

A SPEEDING car raced toward an open bus carrying Dutch Queen Beatrix and her family during a holiday parade yesterday and plowed into spectators, killing four people and injuring 13 others, authorities said.

Prosecutors said they believe the incident was deliberate, but not an act of terrorism. They did not indicate a motive or say why the popular queen might have been a target.

The driver was a 38-year-old white Dutch male with no police record or history of mental illness, police said. They would not give his name.

The small black car headed at high speed toward the royal bus and passed within a few meters of it before crashing into a stone monument. The incident was witnessed by reporters.

People flew through the air after the car swerved across police railings, where the crowd was lined up five or six deep to see the immensely popular royal family pass on its way to the Het Loo palace on the Queen's Day holiday.

It was not clear how the car managed to enter the parade area, which police had sealed off hours before.

Police officers removed the injured driver, who was slumped against his seat with blood on his forehead, from the vehicle and put him into an ambulance.

"From initial contact with police before the suspect was removed from the car ... we have reason to believe it was a deliberate action," prosecutor Ludo Goossens said.

Apeldoorn Mayor Fred de Graaf said eight of the injured were in serious condition.

"What began as a great day has ended in a terrible tragedy that has shocked us all deeply," a visibly upset Queen Beatrix said in a brief statement broadcast on national television channels.

"We are speechless that something so terrible could have happened. My family, and I think everybody in the country, sympathize with the victims, their families and friends and all who have been hit so hard by this accident," she said.

The bus was not hit and no one in the queen's entourage was injured.


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