Copenhagen gunman probably not part of organised cell, PM says

The Irish Times reports: Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said the gunman who attacked a free-speech event and a synagogue in Copenhagen over the weekend probably wasn‘t part of an organised cell.

“There is no indication“ of that, Ms Thorning-Schmidt said at a press conference on Monday, at which she identified as a Danish citizen the man thought to be behind what she described as acts of terror.

Police killed a 22-year-old suspect during a gunfight on Sunday, ending a shooting rampage that left dead a 55-year-old film maker and a 37-year-old Jewish man guarding a synagogue.

Police have since arrested two men under suspicion of having assisted the suspect. Security services are continuing their investigation as they try to piece together the events that led to the killings.

“We would very much like to get in contact with more witnesses that have seen the perpetrator,” police said in a statement. They have so far declined to name the suspect.

According to Danish media, the killer was Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. His parents are from Palestine and also lived in Jordan before coming to Denmark, broadcaster TV2 reported.

Mr El-Hussein was described by classmates as a loner with a hot temper and anger toward Israel and Jews, according to newspaper Politiken.

In November 2013, he knifed a 19-year-old on a commuter train and was sentenced to two years in jail for aggravated assault, TV2 said. He was released just two weeks before the weekend shootings, local media said.

While in jail, he expressed sympathy with Islamic State and said he was interested in going to Syria to fight, Berlingske reported. According to a pre-trial assessment, El-Hussein wasn’t found to be insane, TV2 said. [Continue reading…]

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