Two separate terrorist attacks by a lone gunman in Denmark have killed two and left five policemen injured. Police have reported that they have now shot and killed the man believed to be the attacker.
The first attack hit a café holding a free speech event in the capital, Copenhagen, on Saturday. The event was debating whether limits should be placed on artistic expression in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. The event was organized by Lars Vilks and was being held to mark the anniversary of the Iranian fatwa ordering the death of British-Indian novelist Sir Salman Rushdie. It was entitled “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” and included as a speaker Inna Shevchenko from the radical feminist protest group Femen. The French ambassador to Denmark, François Zimeray, was present at the cafe when the shooting took place.
This audio recording captured the moment when the gunman started firing. Eyewitnesses report that he was shouting in Arabic. Warning: Some readers may find this audio distressing.
A 55-year old man, identified as film-maker Finn Nørgaard was killed and three police officers were wounded before the attacker fled.
A second attack followed a mere 10 hours later. A Jewish security guard, identified as 37 year old Dan Uzan, was killed outside a synagogue and two policeman were wounded. The attack took place at 1am local time while a celebration was being held inside the synagogue.
Police official Torben Moelgaard Jensen told reporters: “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 Norrebro station is the person behind the two attacks."
Police waited by an apartment believed to belong to the suspect. When he saw the police he drew a gun and began firing, but was killed by the officers.
The Danish police statement read: “At one point, a person who could be interesting in relation to the investigation arrived at the site.” When police attempted to stop him, “he opened fire against the police and was thereafter shot.”
Lars Vilks, a controversial Swedish cartoonist who has received dozens of death threats as a result of his drawing cartoons of the founder of Islam, Mohammed, believes that he was the intended target of the first attack.
“What other motive could there be?” he asked. “It’s possible it was inspired by Charlie Hebdo.”
Mr Vilks has been the target of attacks in the past. He first received death threats in 2007 when what was then Al-Qaeda in Iraq (now the Islamic State) put a $100,000 bounty on his head after he drew a series of unflattering cartoons of Mohammed as a dog.
He is also friends with the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, the man behind the famous cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban published in the Danish Jyllands-Posten magazine. In 2013 he was listed alongside Charlie Hebdo’s late chief editor Stéphane Charbonnier and Kurt Westergaard on Al-Qaeda’s most wanted list.