Monday

20th Feb 2017

Europe shocked by Copenhagen terror attack

  • Public transport came to a halt in Copenhagen and border controls towards Germany and Sweden intensified after two terror attacks over the weekend (Photo: EUobserver)

Copenhagen police shot and killed on Sunday morning (15 February) a man suspected to have carried out two terror attacks in the Danish capital over the weekend.

”Once again Europe is shocked by what appears to be another brutal terrorist attack targeted at our fundamental values and freedoms, including the freedom of expression”, said European Council President Donald Tusk.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 'We are Danes'. Liberation's frontpage after the Copenhagen attack (Photo: Liberation)

Similar to the Charlie Hebdo terror in Paris on 7 January, freedom of expression was the first target in Copenhagen followed by an attack on the Jewish community.

The first attack happened on Saturday afternoon, when a man fired some 40 shots at the culture centre ’Krudttønden’ where an international debate about freedom of expression had just started.

Some 50 people had turned up for the public debate between Swedish Muhammad cartoonist and art historian Lars Vilks, leader of the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN, Inna Shevchenko, and Polish artist Agnieszka Kolek. The French ambassador was also present.

One civilian was killed in the attack and three police officers present at the meeting were wounded.

The attacker fled in a stolen car, which was found soon after in the neighbourhood. Video surveillance showed he had taken a taxi further on.

He has been identified as 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid el-Hussein, born in Copenhagen to Palestinian parents. The Danish-Palestinian man was known to the police for gang-related crimes, but had not been abroad as a foreign fighter.

He was released from jail just a few weeks earlier and one possibility is that he was radicalised while in the prison.

Shortly after midnight he carried out a second attack against the main synagogue of the Jewish community in Copenhagen, where some 80 people were attending a family event.

One young Jewish doorman was shot and later died, while two police officers were wounded before the attacker fled.

Again, police presence at the place most likely prevented an even larger tragedy.

Video surveillance led the police to identify the man, suspected to have carried out both shootings. When confronted by police in the early morning hours, he fired at police and was killed, while two police officers were wounded.

"It's a very sad morning when we all think of the victims and their relatives. Two innocent people have lost their lives as a result of a cynical act of terror against Denmark”, prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said in a statement.

Policed used social media to keep the public informed as events unfolded. Thorning-Schmidt praised the security forces for having acted quickly.

”No one should get away with attacking the open, free and democratic Danish society," she said.

'Je suis Charlie' solidarity protests continue

A day after a deadly attack on the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, France is commemorating the victims, as police continue to hunt for the two gunmen.

Interview

EU rights chief warns against ethnic profiling

The outgoing head of the EU’s fundamental rights agency, Morten Kjaerum, has warned against the use ethnic profiling as authorities seek to tighten security in the wake of terror attacks in France and Denmark.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty