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Copenhagen Shootings: latest in the chain of terror attacks …

  • February 15th, 2015
  • Posted by EU Australia

MURDERS IN COPENHAGEN

Denmark flag 2015The city of Copenhagen had an anxious night after gun attacks on the main synagogue, and earlier on at a free speech meeting in a café.

Two civilians were killed, one at each location, and five police officers injured.

The gunman was found and confronted by police, dying in the encounter.

Denmark crisis 2015He had gone to the café – the Krudttønden  Culture Centre — where Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist under attack from fundamentalist Islamist groups for his ‘Mohammed’ cartoons, was taking part in a discussion on freedom and blasphemy.

Unable to get in, the man shot up the front of the building, getting off 200 rounds, according to first estimates, before running off.

The documentary film-maker Finn Norgaard, 55, was killed.

With a manhunt under way, ten hours later, a shooting took place outside the synagogue building, where a Jewish security guard, Dan Uzan, 37, was killed and two police hurt.

Denmark shooter 2015Police who later killed the assailant identified him as Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, 22, of Danish nationality, recently released from imprisonment for an armed assault, described as a gang associate, not on record for any connections with terrorist groups.

He’d had a reputation for anti-semitic prfejudices according to local media who spoke to people who knew him.

The police followed up with a raid on an internet cafe, taking in a group of suspects, and arresting two as accomplices in the shootings, charged with hiding El-Hussein for a time, and hiding his weapon.

LIBERAL DENMARK

Liberal Denmark has been under stress over immigration from Islamic countries, with one of the strongest of Europe’s anti-immigration movements; the right-wing, nationalist Danish People’s Party has the third largest delegation in the parliament.

Plainly feeling the pressure, the Danish Islamic Council released a statement condemning “in the strongest terms” the attack on the Krudttønden centre, and said it wanted the offender quickly caught, to be held accountable for his actions.

“Everything indicates that terrorism’s hands have struck in the Danish capital Copenhagen and targeted itself at a cultural event on freedom of expression, whose weapons were just opinions, which all heavenly religions and secular laws reject.

“The Danish Islamic Council invites all in Danish society to unite in the fight against extremism and terrorism. The Danish Islamic Council also expresses its wish for the offender to be quickly caught and held accountable for his actions…”

JE SUIS CHARLIE – LA FRANCE NE CEDE JAMAIS …

charlie hebdoThe Saturday attack (14.2.15) came one month after the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ attacks in Paris (7.1.15), when two men forced their way into the offices of the satirical magazine, shooting dead ten of the editorial staff, a guest, a maintenance worker and a police officer.

They fled, were sought out as troops took up positions throughout the Paris region and the Pas de Calais, eventually confronted at the village of Dammartin-en-Goele North-east of the capital, both killed.

French-born of Algerian background they’d cried out “Allah Akbar” and identified themselves with the Al-Qaeda in Yemen movement, one on record as claiming to have been to Yemen for training.

On 8.1.15 a third man shot dead a female police officer in the Paris suburb of Montrouge, then went on to take hostages at a kosher delicatessen in Porte de Vincennes.

Four hostages were killed before he was killed, police able to rescue another 15 victims.

The gunman was a petty criminal known to police for associations with radical Islamists, again born in France, into a Senegalese-French family, who was connected with the other two assailants.

Two associates, a man aged 18 who gave himself up, and a young woman believed to have escaped into the Middle east, through Turkey, shared similar backgrounds — marginalised youth from the outer suburbs.

Massive demonstrations of public anger and grief, notably at Paris on 11.1.15, were headed by the French President, Francois Hollande, and 40 other Heads of Government, none calling for acts of vengeance or offence against the Islamic community.

The slogan “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) was promulgated globally on social media; when the attacks came in Copenhagen, senior Ministers of the French government said they were going there, in solidarity, one in his Twitter message proclaiming, “La France ne cede Jamiais” (France will never give in).

BELGIUM RAIDS

Belgium crisis 2015 1A week after the Paris shootings police in Belgium carried out raids on a radical Islamist group, state authorities saying the operation had been planned well ahead, to head off a chain of terrorist attacks.

Two of the suspects were shot dead in the town of Verviers when they fired on police.

Police said that  among several arrests they had seized arms, explosives and police uniforms.

Belgium crisis 2015 2Troops were put on the streets under a general security alert.

MARTIN PLACE SHOOTINGS

Denmark Aus flagsThe Australian experience, in this series of incidents, had begun on 16.12.14 when an armed man took hostages at the Lindt café in Sydney’s Martin Place.

The location is at the heart of the city, the site of one of the principal war memorials.

After a siege running into the early morning hours of the following day he murdered in cold blood the young man who was a  manager at the café, using a shotgun, provoking police to move in. In the melee he was shot dead, and a young woman, a lawyer, was killed by ricocheting bullets. Hostages had been getting away during the night but several were still there when the shooting started.

The offender, in his fifties, from Iran, became notorious over 20 years, seen as an unstable figure around the city. Often costuming himself as an Islamic Imam in the Iranian Shi-ite tradition, he was from time to time engaged in confrontations with police, and was on bail at the time of the Martin Place attack, on charges connected with the murder of his former wife.

COMMENT

In each case the perpetrators have been killed. It is a policy clearly forced on police to ‘put down’  offenders threatening the lives of others, but demands a fanatical will on the part of those who take them on. There is virtually no sense of demands being made for negotiation.

The characteristics of the gunmen look the same: European-born, though from distressed or marginalised migrant communities, reckless and emotionally inflamed, highly prejudiced and simplistic in outlook. Not able to make an ideological argument, often enough not even connected with organised groups, these include the “lone wolf” attackers acting out a generalised anger.

The situation has become particularly cruel for Jewish people in Europe. A few short generations after the horrors of Nazi persecution, they have this unforeshadowed threat to survival, a wave of violent anti-semitism brought over from the conflicts in the Middle East.

While policing has to be done, and the anti-imigration movement of all stripes is having a field day, there is new urgency in finding ways to handle this problem close to the source. One strong argument out of the taxi-driver poll: Somehow get these young men a ‘real life’; “a job, a girlfriend, and a hobby or a game on the local soccer team”, said the man behind the wheel.

 

Reference

CNN, Atlanta, 2015 Paris Terror Attacks Fast Facts, 21.5.15. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/21/europe/2015-paris-terror-attacks-fast-facts/, (14.2.15)

The Guardian, Manchester, Copenhagen: gun assault at synagogue follows shootings at café …, 15.2.15.

Philip Williams, “Belgium counter-terrosim raid …”, Radio Austraia, Melbourne, 16.1.15

Pictures BBC, DW-TV

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