On Saturday, February 14, gunman Omar el-Hussein opened fire at three separate locations in Copenhagen, Denmark. Two victims were killed and five police officers injured over the course of the attacks. The first attack occurred at the Krudttonden cultural center, which was hosting a seminar on free speech, blasphemy and art. The event was attended by Lars Vilks, a controversial Swedish cartoonist who had published a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad, as well as the French Ambassador. Unable to gain entry into the event, Hussein opened fire outside the perimeter of the building, firing shots through the windows before fleeing the scene. The second attack occurred later in the day at a synagogue on Crystal Street in central Copenhagen. Police then traced Hussein to the city’s Norrebro district, where he engaged in a shootout, and was fatally shot by police. Two men accused of helping to hide Hussein and dispose of the weapon have also been detained.
Hussein, who had a history of violent offenses, was recently released from prison and may have been inspired by the terrorist attacks in Paris last month. Elements of Hussein’s turbulent background suggest he may have been vulnerable to committing these acts. This most recent incident is consistent with the ongoing threat from lone-wolf actors, using low-tech tactics to carry out attacks against western interests.