COPENHAGEN: At least one person was killed and three police officers were wounded when unidentified assailants fired on a building in Copenhagen on Saturday which was being attended by the French Ambassdor to Denmark and Swedish artist who once drew sacrilegious cartoons.
Two assailants, who opened fire on the venue, fled in a car. The car, a Volkswagen Polo, was later found abandoned near the scene of the attack.
“They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as (the January 7 attack on) Charlie Hebdo except they didn’t manage to get in,” Ambassador Francois Zimeray said by telephone.
Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was also attending the debate. Vilks had stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which sparked threats from militant groups. He has since lived under heavy security.
Three police officers were reported wounded outside the building, Danish media reported, quoting eyewitnesses.
Zimeray said earlier on Twitter that he was not harmed.
“Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200,” he told AFP.
“Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor. We managed to flee the room, and now we’re staying inside because it’s still dangerous. The attackers haven’t been caught and they could very well still be in the neighbourhood.”
A Femen activist, Inna Shevshenko, said on Twitter that there were several dozen people in the room.
Police and security officials declined comment when contacted by AFP.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned the attack, saying in a statement that France “remains by the side of the Danish authorties and people in the fight against terrorism.”
The French president’s office said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was headed to the scene.
A Danish police spokesperson later told journalists that they are investigating the shooting as a “terror act.”