Danish police said a man they shot dead early Sunday was likely behind the two shooting attacks Saturday in Copenhagen that killed two civilians and wounded five police officers.
Officials said no evidence suggests other gunmen were involved in the shootings, one of which took place at a free-speech event at a cafe and the other outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said on Sunday that two innocent people lost their lives due to a “cynical act of terror against Denmark.”
Thorning-Schmidt said nobody should get away with attacking the “open, free and democratic Danish society.”
The free-speech event was attended by Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who is known for provocative satiric drawings, including a 2007 cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog. He was not harmed in the incident.
In the first attack, a gunman with an automatic weapon killed one person and wounded three police officers at the free-speech event. A volunteer guard was killed and two police officers wounded in the synagogue shooting a few hours later. Sources said the guard was Jewish.
Early Sunday, police said they had shot dead a man who opened fire on officers near a train station in an area where police had put a building under observation. Authorities later linked that man to the two deadly incidents on Saturday.
“We are still faced with a huge investigation. We need to make sure that our theory is in fact correct. A number of things indicate that we did get the right man, but we still have to investigate whether he acted alone, but at the moment there is nothing to suggest that any other perpetrators were involved,” police investigator Joegen Skov said Sunday.
In light of the violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Jewish people in Europe to immigrate to Israel. He said at his Cabinet meeting Sunday that Jews were killed on European soil just because they are Jews.
Netanyahu said this wave of attacks will continue.
Lars Vilks was the apparent target of the first shooting.
Vilks cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad was deeply offensive to many Muslims, and the 68-year-old cartoonist has been threatened many times since it was published.
The French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, also attended that discussion. He went unharmed in the shooting.
The United States condemned the attack at the cafe, calling it deplorable.
Charlie Hebdo attack
Zimeray was expected to talk about the impact of last month’s attacks in Paris on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a kosher grocery. Those earlier attacks by Muslim extremists left 20 people dead, including the attackers.
The French magazine was known for mocking religion and had published several cartoons depicting the prophet.
Threats and attacks against cartoonists whose work has angered Muslims began with the publication of 12 editorial cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005.
The paper said the cartoons, most of which depicted the Prophet Muhammad, were part of an attempt to contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship.
The cartoons eventually led to protests around the world, including violent demonstrations and riots in some Muslim countries.
Between October 2005 and early January 2006, examples of the cartoons were reprinted in major European newspapers from the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Romania and Switzerland. After the beginning of major international protests, they were republished around the globe, but primarily in continental Europe.
Numerous violent plots related to the cartoons have been discovered in the years since the main protests in early 2006.
Artists other than cartoonists have also been the targets of Muslim ire for their work.
British-Indian author Salman Rushdie’s novel Satanic Verses led to death threats made against him, including a fatwa calling for his assassination issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on February 14,1989.
Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was killed in November 2004 by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim angered by Van Gogh’s short film Submission, which criticized the treatment of women in Islam.