Volunteer guard killed, two policemen injured in attack on Copenhagen synagogue


(JTA) – A man was killed and two injured in an attack at a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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. It is not yet clear if the two shootings are related.

Early Sunday morning police shot and killed the man believed to be the gunman in the two attacks during a shootout in the Noerrebro district of Copenhagen.

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, a man in his 30s who has not yet been named, was shot in the head and later died of his injuries.

Police reportedly had been called to guard the synagogue following the attack earlier in the day on the cultural center. The two policemen were injured with gunshots to their legs and arms.

“I dare not think about what would have happened if (the killer) had access to the congregation,” the chairman of the Jewish community in Denmark, Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, told broadcaster TV2 News.

A civilian was killed and three policemen were wounded in the earlier attack at the cultural center. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister, said the attack on the cafe was a terrorist attack. Copenhagen went on high alert following the shooting.

The Secure Community Network, the security arm of the U.S. Jewish community, was in touch with its European counterparts, its director, Paul Goldenberg, told JTA.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder strongly condemned the shootings and urged the Danish government to find those responsible while stepping up efforts to protect the local Jewish community against rising anti-Semitic violence.

“The World Jewish Congress deplores these despicable attacks, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community and the people of Denmark,” said Lauder. “We are confident the Danish government will take all necessary measures to bring those responsible for these attacks to justice, and we urge them to help secure the local Jewish community against anti-Semitic violence.”

“These attacks in Copenhagen follow the similar, brutal targeting of Jews and others in Paris and across Europe,” Lauder said. “European governments should recognize that we are facing a vicious new wave of anti-Semitism and violence. It is crucial that Europe contends with this growing threat.”



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