Copenhagen police holding two men suspected of aiding gunman

Marcy Oster

Copenhagen police are holding two men suspected of aiding the gunman who killed two people in attacks on a cultural center and a synagogue.

The police said in a statement Monday that the men are “suspected of aiding and abetting the perpetrator in connection with the shooting attacks” at the cultural center and at Copenhagen’s central synagogue, the French news agency APF reported.

The statement did not indicate if the detained men are the same two men who were arrested Sunday in an internet café in the Norrebro neighborhood where the gunman was killed.

Two policemen and a volunteer civilian guard were shot in the synagogue attack, as they guarded outside of the building in which a bat mitzvah party was taking place. The civilian guard, Dan Ozan, 37, died later from his injuries. The shooting after midnight on Sunday morning at Copenhagen’s central synagogue in Krystalgade occurred just hours after a fatal shooting Saturday afternoon at a free speech event at a cultural center featuring a Danish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who is under police protection because of his cartoons caricaturing Mohammed.

Police later shot and killed the man believed to be the gunman in the two attacks during a shootout in the Noerrebro district of Copenhagen. He was identified as Omar El-Hussein, 22, who was born in Denmark and was recently released from jail after serving a sentence for aggravated assault.

Copenhagen police said Sunday that the shooter may have been influenced by the Paris terror attacks last month at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket.

A former classmate of El-Hussein on Monday told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that the alleged gunman was consumed with Islam and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was anti-Semitic, the Associated Press reported.