Danish PM Says Shooter Was Not Part Of A Wide Terror Cell

Shootings at a Copenhagen cafe Saturday and a synagogue Sunday left two people dead. Later Sunday, police shot and killed a man they said was responsible for the attacks.

A man lights a candle at a memorial for the victims of the deadly attacks in front of the synagogue in Krystalgade in Copenhagen, Feb. 15. Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

What We Know So Far:

• Two people died and at least five were injured when a shooter, identified by media outlets as Omar El-Hussein, opened fire at two locations in Copenhagen.
• Documentary filmmaker Finn Noergaard, 55, was killed at a cultural center hosting a talk on blasphemy and freedom of speech on Saturday. On Sunday, security guard Dan Uzan, 37, was killed outside a synagogue.
• Five police officers were also injured in the shootings, and are expected to recover.
• Police shot and killed a man about 5 a.m. near the Nørrebro train station who they said was responsible for both attacks.
• El-Hussein, 22 is a Danish-born man with a history of crime and violence, police said. On Monday Danish Prime Minster Helle Thorning-Schmidt said he is not linked to a wider terror network.
• Two men were arraigned in a Danish court Monday on charges they helped El-Hussein flee police and conceal his weapon.
* This was Denmark’s first fatal terrorist attack in 30 years.


No explosives have been found in the suspect package found at the Copenhagen arts cafe, and restrictions in the area have been lifted, ITV News reported.

The package was a letter containing messages pertaining to the weekend’s terrorist attacks, according to Sky News.

A suspect letter has been found at the site of the weekend’s attack on a Copenhagen arts cafe, AFP reported. Police told Reuters the area has been evacuated.

Reuters reported that sniffer dogs and dozens of officers were present at the cafe, and they were waiting for the arrival of a bomb disposal team.

The Copenhagen gunman was released from jail two weeks ago, the Associated Press reported:

An image released by Danish police of Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. Scanpix Denmark / Reuters

One source told the AP that El-Hussein had been in pre-trial detention for a long time but was released two weeks ago. He also said the corrections authority had alerted Danish security service PET last year after they noticed worrisome changes in El-Hussein’s behavior last summer.

He wouldn’t give specifics but said such alerts are issued when inmates change their attitude or behavior in way that “sets off alarm bells.”

Police released this image of the shooter from 2013 surveillance footage:

Scanpix Denmark / Reuters

Flowers were laid Monday at a memorial for the victims — and at one for the gunman:

Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

As the AP reported:

Mourners placed flowers and candles at the cultural center where documentary filmmaker Finn Noergaard, 55, was killed and at the synagogue where Dan Uzan, a 37-year-old security guard, was gunned down.

There was also a smaller mound of flowers on the street at the location where the gunman was slain, which critics said was an insult to his victims. Ozlem Cekic, lawmaker of the leftwing Socialist People’s Party, called it “a huge assault on the Danish population.”

Danish Prime Minster Helle Thorning-Schmidt said Monday that 22-year-old terror suspect Omar El-Hussein is not believed to have been part of a wider cell:

He was known by the police for several criminal acts, including severe violence, and he was also known to be linked to a criminal gang in Copenhagen.

But I want to also make very clear that we have no indication at this stage that he was part of a cell.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, speaks during a press conference for international media, Feb. 16. Stine Bidstrup / AP

Danish police have arrested and charged two men on suspicion of helping the suspect in the weekend’s terror attacks in Copenhagen, the Associated Press reported.

BREAKING: Danish police: 2 men arrested on suspicion of helping suspect in Copenhagen terror attacks.

— The Associated Press (@AP)

According to Sky News, the men were arrested in an internet bookshop and are charged with hiding suspect Omar El-Hussein after the initial attack on the free speech event and supplying him with a weapon.

The pair deny the charges, Sky News said.

The leader of PET, the Danish intelligence agency, told the Associated Press Sunday that investigators believed the gunman was inspired by other Islamic extremists.

“PET is working on a theory that the perpetrator could have been inspired by the events in Paris,” Jens Madsen said. “He could also have been inspired by material sent out by [ISIS] and others.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki condemned the terror attacks in a statement on Sunday:

The United States condemns the terrorist attacks that took place over the weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark. The first attack on Saturday was against a meeting to discuss art, religion, and free speech. The second, early Sunday morning, was against a synagogue. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of the victims who were killed, and our thoughts are with the security officials injured in these terror attacks.

We remain in communication with Danish authorities and have offered to be of assistance in any way needed. The people of the United States stand united with the people of Denmark and all others who defend the universal right of freedom of speech and stand against anti-semitism and bigotry in all its forms.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt released the following statement in English on Sunday:

Denmark has been hit by a terrorist attack. Yesterday afternoon a peaceful meeting was viciously attacked by a gunman, and early this morning the Jewish synagogue was similarly attacked. Two persons have been killed and five police officers injured.

Today the thoughts of all Danes rest with the families of the two deceased and the wounded.

As a nation we will not easily forget the past 24 hours. We have experienced the fear and uncertainty that terrorism seeks to spread. But we have also responded with determination and resolve. Early this morning the situation ended with the death of the presumed perpetrator.

I commend the courage and professionalism of The Danish Police and other involved authorities. Their efforts have been truly extraordinary.

Denmark is an open, free and peaceful democracy. This will not change. We will defend our society and stand by its fundamental values.

To attack the Jewish minority in Denmark is an attack on all of Denmark. We are all deeply disturbed by the tragedy that unfolded in front of the Jewish Synagogue. The Jewish community is an important part of Denmark, and has our warm sympathy and strong support.

We have known for long that there are forces wishing to harm open and free societies like Denmark. This is not a struggle between Islam and the West, or between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is a struggle between the core values of our society and violent extremists.

We are not alone in this struggle. We have received expressions of sympathy and support from leaders around the world. It has warmed my heart and the Danish people deeply. We are very grateful for all the support we have received.

In the coming days we will work to fully clarify the circumstances of the attack. At the same time we will insist that people should go about their business as usual.

I am confident that Denmark will get through this both united and strong.

Denmark’s Queen, Margrethe II, also released this statement:

It is with sorrow that I learn of the extent of the incidents of the last 24 hours. My thoughts go out to the killed film director and the young security guard from the Jewish community who became targets of the perpetrator’s acts. I send my deepest sympathy to the relatives and to the wounded police officers.

I wish to direct thanks to the police and the authorities for their quick and effective efforts.

It is important that we, in such a serious situation, stand together and uphold the values that Denmark is founded upon.

The suspect in the shootings has been identified in Danish media as Omar El-Hussein, AFP reported.

The 22-year-old died in a shootout with police after the killings.

Police would not confirm the name, but said the suspect had a history of arrest and was linked to gangs.

A Danish tabloid reported that El-Hussein had been released from jail only two weeks ago. He had been serving time for assault.

Hundreds of people have demonstrated in solidarity with Denmark outside the country’s embassy in Paris, France.

Hundreds of people in sympathy with Denmark now, out side Danish embassy in Paris. #cphshooting @RasmusTantholdt

— Breaking News (@NewsOnTheMin)

Saturday’s attack on a Copenhagen cafe came during a seminar on free speech and blasphemy organized in tribute to the slain staff of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

“I am Charlie, I am a police officer, I am Jewish, I am Danish,” the man’s sign reads.

“We are all Danish: We are all Charlie! Live life with dignity,” this man’s sign reads.

REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

The terror suspect shot dead by Copenhagen police early Sunday was identified as a 22-year-old Danish-born resident.

Status efter skudepisoderne ved Krudttønden og i Krystalgade #politidk

— Københavns Politi (@KobenhavnPoliti)

In a statement, Danish authorities said the unnamed man was known to police due to a history of violence and several criminal offenses, including violations of the Arms Act.

Police also said the man killed outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue early Sunday was a guard hired to protect the building.

The man killed during Saturday’s terror attack on a Copenhagen blasphemy seminar was Danish film director and producer Finn Nørgaard, the Danish Film Institute said Sunday.

Danish Film Institute / Via

Nørgaard, 55, had directed documentary shorts for Danish television.

The director of the Danish Film Institute, Henrik Bo Nielsen, said he was sad to learn of Nørgaard’s murder during the free-speech event.

“It is essential that instructors and other artists actively participate in the public debate,” Nielsen said, “not just with their works, but also as voters and participants in the debates that concern us all.”

Nielsen said he was filled with “shock and anger” that Nørgaard lost his life participating in the democratic debate.

Danish police have been searching an internet cafe near where they fatally shot the terrorist suspect.

Police still present in front of internet cafe, Nørrebrogade #cphshooting

— Sisse Stroyer (@sissestroyer)

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