The White House issued a statement following the shooting at a free speech event in Denmark, calling the attack “deplorable” but did not describe it as “terrorist” in nature, unlike Denmark’s prime minister who did use that term.
“The United States condemns today’s deplorable shooting in Copenhagen,” said National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan in a statement. “We offer our condolences to the loved ones of the deceased victim, and our thoughts are with those wounded in this attack. We have been in close contact with our Danish counterparts and stand ready to lend any assistance necessary to the investigation.”
The statement was issued after the first shooting in Copenhagen on Saturday but before the killing of a Jewish man at a synagogue in the Danish capital.
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt called the attack “politically motivated” and “terrorist.”
"We feel certain now that it was a politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack," she told reporters following the shooting at the free speech event where one person was killed.
"We are on high alert all over the country," the prime minister said according to Reuters.
The first shooting took place, killing one, at the Krudttoenden cafe at a seminar titled “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression.” The British newspaper the Independent reported that the event was organized that day to mark the anniversary of the 1989 fatwa issued by then-Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei calling for the assassination of the “Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie.
Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has drawn caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, and has been subject to numerous death threats, was at the event and believes he was the intended target.
Police on Sunday echoed that assessment, saying they too considered Vilks to have been the target.
Another man was killed outside a Copenhagen synagogue late Saturday night. The Jerusalem Post quoted Denmark’s BT newspaper which reported that the victim was a Jewish man who was guarding outside the synagogue during a bat mitzvah celebration. The Times of Israel identified him as 38-year-old Dan Uzan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday called the attacks “extremist Islamic terror.”
Speaking at the opening of his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said, “Again Jews were murdered on European soil only because they are Jewish and this wave of attacks is expected to continue.”
He issued a called to European Jews to immigrate “en masse” to Israel, saying “Israel is your home.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman issued a statement Sunday morning characterizing the attacks as “terror” against which an “all-out war” must be waged.
"The international community must not satisfy itself with declarations and rallies against this terror, but must go beyond the boundaries of what is politically correct and wage all-out war to root out Islamic terror," Liberman said.