Accessibility links

Tensions Mount in Europe After Copenhagen Attacks

  • Lisa Bryant

People place flower tributes at the synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, Feb. 16, 2015.

People place flower tributes at the synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, Feb. 16, 2015.

Police in Denmark have jailed two people suspected of helping an assailant responsible for two shootings in Copenhagen, the motives of which are already being compared to similar Islamist-inspired attacks in France last month.

The shootings have drawn condemnation across Europe as an assault on free speech and democratic values.

Flags flew at half staff in Copenhagen and piles of flowers lay in front of the cultural club and the city's main synagogue where the shootings took place. These images are strikingly similar to those in Paris last month, after three assailants killed 17 people in back-to-back shootings.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo traveled to Copenhagen to express her solidarity with the city and its people. She and the city's mayor, Frank Jensen, vowed to defend free speech and democracy.

Danish media have identified the suspected gunman in the Copenhagen attacks as 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. Police shot him dead early Sunday outside an apartment building after he opened fire on them.

Like the Paris shooters, El-Hussein came from a Muslim family and he had a prison record. Danish security services say he may have been inspired by the Paris attacks. The targets for the Copenhagen attacks were similar to those in Paris, where gunmen attacked a satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket.

The response has also been similar. Danish police have been out in force following the attack. In Paris, more than 10,000 soldiers continue to guard sensitive places.

In a radio interview Monday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the threat is particularly high in Europe and that France will remain on high alert.

The attacks have particularly alarmed the Jewish communities in both countries. The desecration of several hundred Jewish tombs in France's Alsace region on Sunday has added to the concern.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited European Jews to Israel, saying the country would welcome them with open arms.

In France, Prime Minister Valls criticized Netanyahu's remarks as regrettable - and unjustified, even during the middle of an election campaign in Israel. The place for French Jews, Valls said, is France. In Copenhagen, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has delivered the same message to Jews in Denmark.

XS
SM
MD
LG