Copenhagen attacks suspect killed, say police

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Updated 16 February 2015

Copenhagen attacks suspect killed, say police

COPENHAGEN: Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected of carrying out shooting attacks at a free speech event and then at a Copenhagen synagogue, killing two men. Five police officers were also wounded in the attacks.
Officials have not identified the perpetrator but say it is possible he was imitating the terror attacks last month in Paris in which radicals carried out a massacre at the Charlie Hebdo newsroom followed by an attack at a kosher grocery store.
“Denmark has been hit by terror,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said on Sunday.
He said the shootings, which bore similarities to an assault in Paris in January on the offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, were terrorist attacks.
“We do not know the motive for the alleged perpetrator’s actions, but we know that there are forces that want to hurt Denmark. They want to rebuke our freedom of speech.”
Leaders across Europe condemned the violence and expressed support for Denmark. Sweden’s security service said it was sharing information with its Danish counterpart, while US National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said US officials were ready to help with the investigation and have been in touch with their Danish counterparts.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius compared the Copenhagen attack to the Paris killings, told Europe 1 radio on Sunday: “I am struck by the similarities of this sequence. First an attack against freedom of speech, then an attack against Jews, and then the confrontation with the police.”
French President Francois Hollande said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve would go to the Danish capital later on Sunday.
European Council President Donald Tusk called Saturday’s attack “another brutal terrorist attack targeted at our fundamental values and freedoms, including the freedom of expression.”
A man died in Saturday’s shooting at a cafe hosting Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has received death threats for depicting religion in poor image. Vilks was unhurt. A security guard died in a separate attack overnight at a nearby synagogue.
“We’ve tasted the ugly taste of fear and impotence that terror wants to create,” Thorning-Schmidt told reporters.
Police had released a photo of the suspect, dressed in a heavy winter coat and maroon mask. But the motivations of the gunman, who police said was armed with an automatic weapon, were not known.
Danish police had launched a massive manhunt with helicopters roaring overhead and an array of armoured vehicles on the usually peaceful streets of Copenhagen.
Police said they shot dead the suspect near a train station in Norrebro, an area in Copenhagen not far from the sites of the two attacks. Police said he had fired on officers. Some local media said police raided an apartment in the area.
“We assume that it’s the same culprit behind both incidents... that was shot by the police,” Chief police inspector Torben Molgaard Jensen told reporters.
French Ambassador Francois Zimeray attended the cafe event, entitled “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression,” and praised Denmark’s support for freedom of speech following the Paris attacks.
Witnesses said the envoy had barely finished his introduction when up to 40 shots rang out, outside the venue, as an attacker sprayed the cafe’s windows with bullets.
Security experts said they considered Vilks, the main speaker, to have been the target. A 55-year-old man died as a result of that shooting, police said early on Sunday.
Witnesses said police who were at the heavily-guarded venue fired back at the attacker. Vilks was taken to a back cold storage room for protection.
“The rather spare audience got to experience fear and horror - and tragedy. I can’t say it affected me as I was well looked after,” Vilks wrote in a blog post.
Hours later, shots were fired at a synagogue about a half hour’s walk from the cafe. A man guarding the synagogue was shot in the head and died later. Two police officers were wounded.
“He was a member of the community, a fantastic guy,” Rabbi Bent Lexner, Denmark’s former chief rabbi, told Israeli Army Radio. “We are in shock. I am sitting now with the parents of the man killed. We didn’t think such a thing could happen in Denmark.”
Helle Merete Brix, organizer of the event at the cafe, told Reuters she had seen an attacker wearing a mask.
“The security guards shouted ‘Everyone get out!’ and we were being pushed out of the room,” Brix said.
Danish authorities have been on alert since three gunmen killed 17 people in three days of violence in Paris last month that began with an attack on Charlie Hebdo, long known for its acerbic cartoons on Islam, other religions and politicians.
Authorities have also been worried about possible lone gunmen like Anders Behring Breivik, the anti-immigrant Norwegian who killed 77 people in 2011, most of them at a youth camp run by Norway’s ruling center-left Labor Party.


Norway mosque shooter charged with murder, terrorism

Updated 12 min 59 sec ago

Norway mosque shooter charged with murder, terrorism

  • Philip Manshaus was arrested after opening fire in the Al-Noor mosque in the affluent Oslo suburb of Baerum on August 10
  • Manshaus has previously admitted to the actions but has rejected the charges of murder and terrorism

OSLO: A 22-year-old Norwegian man accused of killing his step-sister before opening fire in a mosque near Oslo in August was charged with murder and terrorism on Monday, prosecutors said.
Philip Manshaus was arrested after opening fire in the Al-Noor mosque in the affluent Oslo suburb of Baerum on August 10 last year before he was overpowered by a 65-year-old man.
Just three worshippers were in the mosque at the time, and there were no serious injuries.
The body of his 17-year-old step-sister was later found in their home.
Adopted by his father's girlfriend, Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen was killed by four bullets, police said.
Police have previously said they believed the motive for the murder to be racist, saying he killed her because she was of Asian origin.
The charge sheet filed with the Asker and Baerum district court on Monday contained two charges.
One charge of murder for having killed his stepsister, and one charge of a "terrorist act" by attempting to kill with the "intention of creating severe fear in a population."
The trial is expected to begin on May 7.
Manshaus has previously admitted to the actions but has rejected the charges of murder and terrorism, claiming that it was a "kind of self-defence."
On September 9, at a court hearing to extend his detention in custody, Manshaus raised his arm in a Nazi salute to the assembled media.
Manshaus lawyer, Unni Fries, told broadcaster NRK that the charges did not come as a surprise.
"We are going to take a closer look at this and work towards the trial," Fried said.