Saturday’s deadly attacks in Copenhagen bore several similarities to last month’s assault in Paris, experts said, but warned more needed to be known about the Danish attacker before drawing direct parallels.
In the words of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the similarities between the two attacks are “striking”.
“First an attack on a symbol of freedom of expression, then an attack on Jews and finally a showdown with police,” Fabius said on French television on Sunday.
Like the Islamist Kouachi brothers who killed 12 in and around the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, the Copenhagen gunman unleashed a volley of bullets at a cultural centre where a debate on freedom of speech was taking place.
Two days later in Paris, another Islamist gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, killed four Jews in a hostage drama at a kosher supermarket. In Copenhagen, the gunman shot a 37-year-old Jewish man dead outside the city’s main synagogue early on Sunday.
Both rampages ended in a firefight with police. French elite forces stormed the Jewish supermarket and a printing firm where the Kouachi brothers were holed up, resulting in the deaths of all three gunmen.
In Denmark, the suspected attacker was killed in a gun battle with police after a massive manhunt closed down the capital.
– ‘High-value targets’ –
“The modus operandi seems similar, the targets too. It seems to be the same type of individual jihad,” said one source close to the elite French forces, who declined to be named.
Danish security forces have already said the man “may have been inspired” by the three days of terror in Paris last month.
According to the security source, authorities are wary of “copy-cat” acts.
“That is the intention of those waging jihad: with their propaganda videos and their Internet recruitment, they want people to identify with actions such as the Paris attacks. They want them to repeat them.”
Groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State have called on followers to take whatever crude action they can to inflict carnage on the streets of the West.
Terrorism Jean-Charles Brisard said there were indeed “similarities” between the two attacks “but they follow the same basic trends we have been observing for several years.”
This type of attack “requires a lot less preparation than attacks that were carried out in the past,” which makes it harder for authorities to intervene in the preparatory phase.
Nevertheless, the security expert warned against “short-cuts” in linking the two attacks, as “we don’t know much about the Copenhagen shooter”.
Nevertheless, Jens Madsen from Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service told reporters that the man may “generally have been inspired by militant Islamist propaganda issued by IS (Islamic State) and other terror organisations.”
He said police were looking into the possibility that the man had travelled to conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq.
Photo Credits : AFP