Copenhagen shootings: Two men arrested on suspicion of helping alleged gunman Omar el-Hussein

Gunman opened fire at a seminar on freedom of speech and near synagogue

Lizzie Dearden
Monday 16 February 2015 09:33
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Police forensic technicians examine bullet holes in the door to Krudttønden café in Copenhagen
Police forensic technicians examine bullet holes in the door to Krudttønden café in Copenhagen

Two men have been arrested in Denmark on suspicion of helping alleged gunman Omar el-Hussein carry out his terror attacks in Copenhagen.

The 22-year-old had only been released from prison two weeks before his rampage, it has emerged, and police said he had a history of violent crime. He was serving a two-year sentence for grievous bodily harm.

His suspected accomplices were arrested on Sunday and they are due to face a custody hearing later today.

Jens Madsen, head of the Danish intelligence agency PET, said el-Hussein was motivated by the Charlie Hebdo massacre and Isis propaganda.

He “could have been inspired by the events in Paris”, Mr Madsen said. “He could also have been inspired by material sent out by Isis and others.”

Amedy Coulibaly, an accomplice of the Charlie Hebdo gunmen who took shoppers hostage at a Jewish grocery store, had pledged allegiance to Isis in a video filmed shortly before his death.

Al-Qaeda followers Said and Cherif Kouachi claimed their massacre of 12 people at the satirical newspaper's office was to "avenge the Prophet" for their depictions of him.

El-Hussein was shot dead by a SWAT team early on Sunday morning during a gun battle hours after he allegedly opened fire during a seminar on free speech in the wake of the Paris attacks.

A cartoonist who had drawn caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed was speaking there who had previously received death threats.

Lars Vilks, 68, said he believed he was the intended target after depicting the Muslim Prophet as a dog in 2007.

Agnieszka Kolek, another panellist, said she heard shouts of “Allahu Akbar” - “God is great” in Arabic.

The man suspected of killing two people in shootings in Copenhagen has been identified in several Danish media outlets as Omar El-Hussein

A Danish film-maker, Finn Noergaard, was killed in that attack and nine hours later, volunteer security guard Dan Uzan, 27, was gunned down outside a bat mitzvah near a synagogue.

Five police officers were wounded in the shootings.

On Monday, police confirmed that gunman shooter visited an internet cafe where later they detained the two men accused of aiding him.

Additional reporting by agencies

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