Copenhagen jihadi who killed two people was inspired by Hebdo attacks

February 17, 2015 10:42 am

 
The
jihadi who killed two people before being gunned down by Danish police
yesterday was inspired by the atrocity in Paris.
Omar
Abdel Hamid El-Hussein was shot at a train station in Copenhagen after
he opened fire on armed officers in the early hours of yesterday
morning.

The 22-year-old fanatic murdered film director Finn Norgaard,
55, while indiscriminately firing an automatic rifle at a free speech
debate at a cafe on Saturday afternoon.
His
intended target was thought to have been the controversial Swedish
cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has previously depicted the prophet Muhammad
as a stray dog. Mr Vilks escaped unscathed.
Some ten hours later the gunman shot Dan Uzan in the head at a synagogue holding a bat mitzvah celebration for 80 people.
Ekstra-Bladet,
a Danish tabloid, reported that Norgaard was released from jail only
two weeks ago after serving a term for aggravated assault.
Police said earlier he had a history of assault and weapons offences and links to gangs.
Mr Uzan, 37, an economist at the Danish treasury, had been acting as a volunteer security guard for the event.
Two
police officers, who were at the synagogue to provide extra security
following the earlier cafe shooting, were shot in the arms and legs.
Three others were injured in the earlier attack. All are expected to
survive.

The police later shot a suspect after the
attack that left one person dead and three police officers wounded
during a freedom of speech event attended by artists, writers and
politicians. Photo / AP

El-Hussein was “on the radar” of the intelligence services
in Demark and had a lengthy criminal record. Last night it remained
unclear how he was radicalised.
Jens Madsen, head of ’s
intelligence agency PET, said the killer may have been “inspired by
Islamist propaganda issued by Islamic State and other terror
organisations”.
He added: “PET is working on a theory that the perpetrator could have been inspired by the events in Paris.”

‘He wanted to repeat what happened in Paris’

French
ambassador François Zimeray, who was attending the free speech rally,
said: “I think he wanted to repeat what happened in Paris.
“If the Danish police had not been there, we would all have been killed.”
The
attack at the Krudttønden café bears striking similarities to the
massacre at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris last month, in which two
fanatics murdered 12 people.
Their accomplice shot dead a policewoman and four hostages at a kosher supermarket.
In
one of the biggest manhunts in Denmark’s history, police tracked
El-Hussein to an apartment next to Norrebro metro station at around 5am
yesterday.
When he emerged he was killed in a hail of bullets as he started shooting at armed officers.

An armed security officer runs down a street near the cafe. Photo / AP
An armed security officer runs down a street near the cafe. Photo / AP
Police found two pistols on him and an automatic rifle nearby.
Student Soren Krebs, 22, who lives nearby, told the Daily Mail: “I was woken at 5am when I heard gunfire right outside the window of my apartment.”
He said: “It was terrifying. We thought the bullets might come through the walls.
“I saw a man dressed in black, with a bulletproof vest on. He was standing over a body.”
Later, police arrested four people linked to El-Hussein after raiding an internet cafe in Copenhagen.
Last night Demark remained on high alert with hundreds of armed police officers patrolling the capital city.
Thousands of tearful mourners laid flowers outside the Krudttønden café and the Great Synagogue.
Mr Vilks yesterday described the moment the gunman began spraying the cafe with bullets.
Admitting he was probably the main target, the artist, who sleeps with an axe under his bed, added: “At first there was panic.
“People
crawled down under tables. My bodyguards pulled me away. It would have
been much worse if this happened during the break, when people walk
out.”
Agnieszka Kolek, 38, a campaigner from London who was
sitting next to Mr Vilks, said the gunfire began during a speech about
the Charlie Hebdo attack.
She said: “Suddenly we heard the first
shots…bam, bam, bam. They were quite slow at first and they initially
sounded like fire crackers. I thought that if I turned and ran I would
get halfway to the door before I might get a bullet in my back.”
Last
night friends and colleagues of Mr Noergaard described him as a
peaceful person whose work had never focused on Islamic subjects.
Meanwhile
Rabbi Yair Melchior, a leader of the Copenhagen Jewish community, said
Mr Uzan had “saved lives” by standing up to the gunman at the synagogue.
He said: “The terrorist did not get in. [Mr Uzan] was a person always willing to help. An amazing, amazing guy.”
Yesterday
Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that Denmark had been
“hit by terror”. She said: “There are forces that want to hurt Denmark.
They want to rebuke our freedom of speech.”
Speaking outside the
synagogue where Mr Uzan was killed, she added: “The Jewish community is
a large and integrated part of Danish society. We are together with you
in your grief.”
A memorial is to be held at the cafe today, with most Danish politicians expected to attend.

Netanyahu calls on Jews to abandon

Israel’s prime minister yesterday called for the “massive immigration” of European Jews to Israel.
Benjamin
Netanyahu said that at a time of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, Israel
is the only place where Jews can truly feel safe.
He said: “Jews
deserve protection in every country but we say to Jews: Israel is your
home. I would like to tell all European Jews and all Jews wherever they
are: Israel is waiting for you with open arms.”

Attacks ‘deplorable’ – United Nations

The
first lethal attacks on Danish soil in decades were branded
“deplorable” by the United States and triggered condemnation around the
world.
“We have experienced the ugly taste of fear and
powerlessness which terror hopes to create,” Prime Minister Helle
Thorning-Schmidt told a briefing, saying Denmark was experiencing “a day
of sorrow”.
“We will defend our democracy and we will defend Denmark at any time,” she said.
The killing of the suspected attacker capped a massive police manhunt.
The
shootout took place shortly before dawn in the neighbourhood of
Noerrebro, where police had been keeping an address under observation.
They
said video surveillance had led them to believe the man killed by
officers was behind both attacks but they were still investigating
whether he was acting alone.
The shooting came at the end of a night of fear that had gripped the city of about one million.
The
central area of Copenhagen that is home to both the synagogue and
Noerreport station, the country’s busiest rail hub, was cordoned off by
police carrying machine guns.
Swedish security services said they were on alert for any attempt by a suspect to cross the bridge linking Denmark with Sweden.
Michael
Gelvan, chairman of the Nordic Jewish Security Council, said the victim
at the synagogue was a young Jewish man who had been providing security
for a ceremony.

Artist target of several attacks

Lars
Vilks, a 68-year-old Swedish artist, has faced several attempted
attacks and death threats since he depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a
dog in 2007. A Pennsylvania woman last year was sentenced to a
10-year prison term for a plot to kill Vilks. In 2010, two brothers
tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden.
Vilks said he
thought Sweden’s SAPO security service, which deploys bodyguards to
protect him, would step up the security around him.

Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo / AP
Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo / AP
He said: “This will create fear among people on a whole
different level than we’re used to,” he said. “Charlie Hebdo was a small
oasis. Not many dared do what they did.”

Bloody trail of violence in Europe

Jihadist attacks in Europe over the past three years: France:
On January 8, an attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s
Paris offices kills 12, followed the next day by the shooting death of a
policewoman just outside the city in a connected incident. The gunman
who killed the policewoman takes hostages at a kosher supermarket in
Paris. Four are killed during a police commando raid.
Belgium:
On May 25, 2014, four people, including two Israeli tourists, are
killed when a gunman attacks the Jewish Museum in Brussels. French
police arrest Franco-Algerian Mehdi Nemmouche in Marseille, southern
France, six days later and hand him over to Belgian officials in late
July. Nemmouche, 29, has been charged with “murder in a terrorist
context”.
Britain: On May 23, 2013, soldier Lee
Rigby, 25, is hacked to death by two Britons of Nigerian descent near an
army barracks in London. In February 2014, Michael Adebolajo, 29, is
sentenced to life in prison over the murder and Michael Adebowale, 22,
receives a minimum of 45 years behind bars.
France:
On March 12 and 20, 2012, Mohamed Merah, 23, shoots three soldiers dead
in Toulouse and Montauban, southern France, before killing three
students and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Merah is killed
on March 23 in a shootout following a long siege of his apartment by
French police.
• Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein was shot after opening fire on officers
• Fanatic murdered film director while firing rifle at free speech debate
• His intended target could have been controversial cartoonist Lars Vilks
• Swedish artist previously depicted prophet Muhammad as stray dog
• Ten hours later the gunman shot Dan Uzan in the head at synagogue
• Netanyahu calls for ‘massive immigration’ of European Jews to Israel
• Denmark is becoming an extremism hotbed with 100+ men joining ISIS

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