Copenhagen: At least three people were killed and five others injured in separate shooting attacks in Denmark, involving a gunman who was killed in a later shootout Sunday. Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt termed the attacks as a "terrorist strike", media reports said.
The gunman stormed a cafe Saturday evening where French ambassador Francois Zimeray and controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks were present for an event titled "Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression", CNN reported. The shooter killed a 55-year-old man and left three police officers injured before fleeing, police said.
The second attack occurred early Sunday near Copenhagen's main synagogue, where one person was killed and two policemen were injured. Police said a man, believed to be responsible for both the attacks, was killed in a later shootout in Norrebro district after he opened fire on police.
Video footage confirmed the same man had carried out both the attacks. "We assume that it's the same culprit behind both incidents, and we also assume that the culprit that was shot by the police task force ... is the person behind both of these assassinations," Chief Police Inspector Torben Molgaard Jensen told reporters.
Later, Copenhagen's police director Thorkild Fogde said at a press conference that the alleged offender has been identified, according to Xinhua. Police said they do not believe any other person was involved but did not name the alleged perpetrator.
The Danish Security and Intelligence Agency (PET) said Sunday that it had prior knowledge of the alleged perpetrator, without going into details. "When terrorists act alone, the number of victims is usually fewer than at the large coordinated actions.
But their attacks are much harder for police and intelligence agencies to curb," Hans Joergen Bonnichesen, former head of operations for FET was quoted as saying. Fogde said patrols in Copenhagen will be increased in the coming days to ensure security.
After Saturday's attack, the Danish prime minister said it was a terrorist strike and her country would never bow to violence. "We have some difficult days ahead," she added. The US denounced the deadly shooting as "deplorable".
"The US condemns the deplorable shooting in Copenhagen," National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said. The Copenhagen attacks follow the massacre at the office of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris where 12 people were killed to avenge cartoons carried by it illustrating Prophet Muhammad.