Danish cartoonist attacker had 'terror links'
Danish police shot and wounded a Somali man with al Qaeda links when he tried to break into the home of a cartoonist whose 2005 caricatures of Prophet Mohammad outraged many Muslims. The 28-year-old man, armed with a knife and axe, failed to get into Kurt Westergaard's home in the town of Aarhus late on Friday and was shot in the leg and hand after he threw the axe at a policeman, a police spokesman said.
The man, who was now under arrest, had "close ties to the Somali terror organisation al-Shabaab as well as to al Qaeda leaders in East Africa", the Danish Security and Intelligence Service PET said in a statement. It said the man, who had a legal residence permit for Denmark, was also "suspected of being involved in terror-related activities in East Africa". The security service said the man, who would be charged with attempting to kill Mr Westergaard and the police officer, had been involved in a "terror-related network" that had long been under investigation in connection with threats to Mr Westergaard.
"PET looks very seriously upon this case which once again confirms the terror threat directed against Denmark and the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in particular," the PET chief Jakob Scharf said in the statement. Mr Westergaard was not hurt in the incident, a police spokesman said. He said police were still investigating whether the Somali man acted alone. Last year, US authorities arrested two men in Chicago who were suspected of planning attacks on Mr Westergaard and his newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which published the caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.
Most Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam as offensive. In 2006, three Danish embassies were attacked and at least 50 people were killed in rioting in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Several young Muslims have since been convicted in Denmark of planning bomb attacks, partly in protest at the cartoons. *Reuters
Published: January 2, 2010 04:00 AM