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Copenhagen police shoot dead suspect for deadly attacks

15 February 2015 12:04

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Copenhagen police say they have killed the suspect for the twin attacks in the Danish capital that killed two people and injured five others.

“We believe the same man was behind both shootings and we also believe that the perpetrator who was shot by the police action force at Noerrebro station is the person behind the two attacks,” Torben Moelgaard Jensen told a Sunday press conference.

A statement posted earlier in the day by the police said the security forces had kept tabs on a location near the train station, adding that the man was killed after the security forces returned his fire.

“The man was hailed. He opened fire against the police and was then shot to death. The man has died. No police officers were hit,” the police said about the incident in the Norrebro area of Copenhagen.

“The police are now investigating if the person could be behind the shootings at Krudttoenden and the synagogue in Krystalgade,” the statement added.

At least two people were killed in two previous shootings in the capital while five others sustained injuries.

First attack

The first attack took place at the Krudttonden cultural center on Saturday where a meeting, dubbed “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression” was held to apparently justify controversial Swedish artist, Lars Vilks’s sacrilegious depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoonist is known for his provocative images against Islam’s most revered figure in 2007.

France’s ambassador to Denmark Francois Zimeray was also present at the meeting but escaped unharmed.

“Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200,” Zimeray said after the fatal incident, adding, “Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor.”

A man, 55, was killed and three police officers wounded in the shooting spree by a lone gunman who fled the scene after the assault.

“Everything leads us to believe that the shooting was a political attack and therefore a terrorist act,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said in a statement.

Second attack

Hours after the deadly attack on the center, in a separate incident, a man was shot in the head and killed near Copenhagen’s main synagogue in the city center. Two policemen also sustained injures in the shooting at around Sunday morning.

The relation between the incidents at the cultural center Saturday afternoon and in front of the synagogue early Sunday has not been confirmed yet by the police, who have launched a massive manhunt operation to arrest the assailants.

Police search for the attackers

A photo of the suspect in the cultural center attack was released, with police describing him as a tall man between 25 and 30 years old.

The photo showed him in a dark anorak, carrying a black bag while the gunman in the second attack is reported to have worn black trousers, black shoes and a light grey jacket with “multi-colored” parts.

Attack on French magazine

The Denmark shootings came just weeks after the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which has a history of publishing blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, came under attack on January 7, killing 12 people.

A few days later, Charlie Hebdo published a blasphemous cartoon insulting Islam’s most revered figure Prophet Muhammad.

Senior Muslim figures worldwide denounced both the terror assault against Charlie Hebdo and the magazine’s sacrilegious cartoons.

Following the release of the cartoon, Pope Francis lashed out at the French magazine, saying that freedom of expression should not be used as an excuse for blasphemy.

“You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others,” Pope said.

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