Barely a month after Charlie Hebdo, twin terror attacks hit Denmark

The New York Times reports: The Copenhagen police said on Sunday that they had shot and killed a man believed to be behind two attacks that killed two people, one at a cafe and one outside a synagogue.

The first attack took place on Saturday, when a gunman sprayed bullets into the cafe where a Swedish cartoonist [Lars Vilks] who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad was speaking. Hours later, early Sunday, a man was shot outside the city’s main synagogue, according to the police.

One man was killed in the cafe attack and three police officers were wounded; a man was shot in the head in the second attack and later died, and two officers were wounded, Danish television reported. In each case the gunman escaped, raising fears throughout the city — the capital of Denmark — and setting off a police manhunt.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt called the shooting at the Krudttoenden cafe a terrorist attack and said that the nation was on high alert. “We feel certain now that it was a politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack,” Ms. Thorning-Schmidt said.

Later Sunday, Jørgen Skov, a police inspector, said at a news conference in Copenhagen that the police had shot and killed the suspect after he opened fire on officers near the Norrebro station. Mr. Skov added that there was no indication other suspects were involved, but that the investigation was continuing. [Continue reading…]

The Local reports: The suspected gunman in two fatal shootings in Copenhagen may have been inspired by the Islamist attacks in Paris a month ago, Danish police said Sunday.

The man, who was killed in a shootout with police earlier in the day, “may have been inspired by the events that took place in Paris a few weeks ago,” Jens Madsen from the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) told reporters.

The man may “generally have been inspired by militant Islamist propaganda issued by IS [also known as Isis or Islamic State, ed.] and other terror organisations,” Madsen said.

Christopher Dickey adds: In Scandinavia, the history of cartoons taunting Muslims by caricaturing Muhammad dates back almost a decade, to September 2005 when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons by different satirists. Local Muslims were offended, but it was governments in several Muslim countries encouraging and orchestrating protests that turned the controversy into a firestorm. More than four months after the publication, in February 2006, protesters tried to burn down the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. The same embassies were attacked in Beirut. Soon, more than 50 people had been killed in related violence in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

In Denmark itself, Islamic organizations took Jyllands-Posten to court, claiming that the Muhammad cartoons were an offense against all Muslim people, but they eventually lost the case.

Against this background, Lars Vilks, a run-of-the-mill artist in Sweden, published a rough sketch in an obscure local newspaper in Orebro that picked up on a curious phenomenon of the time — mysterious sculptures of dogs appearing in the grassy centers of traffic circles. He drew the turbaned head of Muhammad on one such “roundabout dog.” Again, governments in Muslim countries made official protests while anger on the streets of those countries grew.

In the years since, the cartoonists and editors responsible for the Jyllands-Posten publications have lived under constant threat, and so has Vilks.

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