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Copenhagen gunman had background in criminal activities: Police

16 February 2015 11:57

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The gunman behind the fatal attacks on a café and a synagogue in the Danish capital Copenhagen had a background in criminal activities, police say.

The 22-year-old suspect was born in Denmark and was known to police because of a criminal record that includes violence and possession of weapons, Copenhagen police said in a statement released on Sunday.

Local media reports identified the gunman as Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, claiming he had been released from prison two weeks ago.

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

On Saturday, one person was killed and three police officers wounded when the assailant attacked the café hosting a debate attended by controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Hours later, the synagogue was attacked, leaving one person dead and two policemen injured.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt branded both attacks as terrorist acts.

“Denmark has been hit by terror,” the premier said, adding, “We do not know the motive for the alleged perpetrator’s actions, but we know that there are forces that want to hurt Denmark.”
El-Hussein was killed by police in a shootout after he attacked the synagogue early on Sunday.

“He opened fire against the police and was then shot to death. The man has died,” the police said about the incident in the Norrebro area of Copenhagen.

Following the attacks, Copenhagen police has been carrying out extensive operations, including a raid against an Internet café and detention of two people on Sunday.

“It’s part of our investigation,” Copenhagen police spokesman Steen Hansen said without giving further details.

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