At least two people were killed and five police personnel were injured in separate shooting attacks in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen since Saturday evening, media reported .
In the first attack Saturday evening, one person was killed and three police officers injured when gunmen opened fire at a meeting on blasphemy at a cultural centre, where French Ambassador to Denmark Francois Zimeray and Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had courted controversy for his portrayals of the Prophet Mohammed, were present.
The second attack took place early Sunday near Copenhagen’s main synagogue, where one person was killed by gunshot wounds to the head and two policemen were injured, The Copenhagen Post reported.
Police said that a suspect fled the scene wearing black pants and shoes and a light grey jacket.
Police said that it is still too early to determine whether the synagogue shooting is related to Saturday’s attack on the meeting on “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression”.
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that it was a terrorist strike after the first attack Saturday and her country would never bow to violence.
“All resources will be used to find (those responsible) and bring them before a judge,” she added.
“We have some difficult days ahead,” the prime minister said.
The White House has also denounced the deadly shooting as “deplorable”, pledging help needed for investigation into the double attack.
“The US condemns today’s deplorable shooting in Copenhagen,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.
“We have been in close contact with our Danish counterparts and stand ready to lend any assistance necessary to the investigation,” she added.
The 68-year-old cartoonist Vilks has been under police protection since August 2007, when he published a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad in Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.
Attacks on Vilks followed and two brothers were sentenced to prison terms in 2010 for trying to burn down the cartoonist’s house in Sweden.
Vilks was one of the nine faces on a “Most Wanted” graphic published by Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine for “crimes against Islam”, as was the former editor of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, who was killed in a terrorist attack on his Paris office last month.
The Copenhagen attacks do have resonance with the attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo, in which two Islamist gunmen killed 12 people, purportedly to avenge the Prophet Muhammad.
The perpetrators behind the two incidents in Copenhagen are still at large.