Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein who was shot dead by the police on Saturday
The gunman suspected of killing two people after opening fire on a free speech debate and a synagogue in Copenhagen on Saturday was identified on Sunday as 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a Danish national with a history of gang violence.
Copenhagen police said the alleged terrorist, who was killed in a shootout with officers in the early hours of yesterday morning, had previously been convicted of “several crimes” including assault and the possession of weapons.
Jens Madsen, the head of Denmark’s security service, said he may have been “inspired by militant Islamist propaganda issued by IS [Islamic State] and other terror organisations”. It is not yet known whether he travelled to Iraq or Syria before the attacks.
Police refused to confirm the man’s identity, which was reported by Danish media. The newspaper Ekstra Bladet claimed that El-Hussein had recently been released from prison.
At around 3.30pm on Saturday, the gunman, dressed in a heavy overcoat and wearing a maroon mask, is believed to have opened fire on Copenhagen’s Krudttønden café while a debate featuring the controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks was being held. Witnesses said he fired around 40 shots.