A police station was damaged, though no one was injured, in Copenhagen in what was already a second explosion to have hit the Danish Copenhagen in only four days, while a gunman armed with multiple weapons has opened fire in a mosque near the Norwegian capital, Oslo, wounding one person before being overpowered by worshippers. Earlier last week (6 August), an explosion outside the Danish Tax Agency’s office slightly injured one person, in what police said was a deliberate attack. Serious attacks or violence are rare in Denmark and Norway, both Nordic countries of a few million people, which pride themselves on a reputation for safety and social tolerance.
“It was a deliberate act, no doubt about it,” Jorgen Bergen Skov, chief inspector of the Copenhagen Police told reporters at a press briefing, adding that “these attacks were against buildings, not people. But it is too early to say anything about the motive.” Copenhagen police have appealed for witnesses who may have seen a man dressed in black clothes and white shoes, reported to have rushed from the spot, or any “other suspicious persons or vehicles”. “In Denmark, no one should be afraid that their workplace will be blown to bits. Tax agency, police, anywhere,” said Morten Ostergaard, a member of the Social Liberal Party and a former economic and interior affairs minister.
Meanwhile, the suspected shooter at the al-Noor Islamic Centre in the Baerum district was “a young white man” who appeared to have acted alone, according to Norwegian police sources. One person is reported to have sustained “minor injuries” and the victim was a 75-year-old member of the congregation, mosque director Irfan Mushtaq told TV2. “The man carried two shotgun-like weapons and a pistol,“ Mushtaq also said and added that „he broke through a glass door and fired shots” while wearing body armour and a helmet. The al-Noor Islamic Centre earlier this year implemented extra security measures following the massacre of more than 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand by a self-described white supremacist.
In July 2011, Norway was the scene of one of the worst-ever attacks by supporters of the far-right, when 77 people were shot dead by Anders Behring Breivik, who was said to have been motivated by his hatred of multiculturalism. In the meantime, Denmark’s new Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that while the attack was deliberate, it was too soon to label it as a “terror” attack.