International News Brief: Denmark shooting and Charlie Hedbo

On Sunday Feb. 15, police in Copenhagen, Denmark fatally shot a man they believed to have perpetrated two fatal attacks earlier that weekend. According to The New York Times, he suspect is estimated to have fired 30 shots Saturday on a café that was hosting a discussion about the January terror attack in Paris, in which 12 people were killed in the office of famed satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo,. Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist who survived the shooting, was in attendance at the talk and has been deemed the alleged target after his name was found on a “death list” created by Al Qaeda. Also on the list was the late Stéphane Charbonnier, an editor of Charlie Hedbo. Saturday’s violence left three police officers wounded and film director Finn Nørgaard dead.
Early on Sunday morning, several hours after the initial attack, the suspect is said to have approached and opened fire on two police officers and a civilian who were standing outside a synagogue in central Copenhagen. The officers were both wounded, while the civilian, Dan Uzan, sustained a fatal shot to his head. Uzan was acting as a volunteer Jewish guard at the time of his murder.
Residents of Copenhagen were told to remain inside following the second attack while police performed a manhunt. The events culminated about four hours later, when police seized the suspect after he returned to an address that had been under surveillance throughout the night. Before being killed by a SWAT team, the suspect opened fire on officers, but caused no injuries to them.
The obvious concern in Denmark with these attacks is being compounded throughout Europe due to consistencies with the prior violence in Paris. Both instances began with an attack on cartoonists and were followed by another on a Jewish target, which suggest anti-free speech and anti-Semitic sentiments as possible motivators for both shooters.
Although Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt stated that the violence does not imply a “war between Islam and the West,” many European governments are working to stop Muslims from going into Iraq and Syria to fight as jihadists. It is estimated that 5,000 Europeans have already made the move, consequently posing a huge threat should they return to carry out acts of domestic terrorism, according to The Guardian.

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