While the identity of the killer who attacked a free speech event and a synagogue yesterday in Copenhagen has not yet been released, media are now reporting that the suspect is “known to authorities” in what appears to be yet another case of what I have termed “Known Wolf” terrorism. ***Suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, who police considered “extremely dangerous.” See more details in updates below.***
My friend and PJ Media colleague Andrew McCarthy noted this on Twitter this morning:
— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) February 15, 2015
As the incident was ongoing yesterday, I predicted that such might be the case:
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) February 15, 2015
So this attack in Copenhagen is yet another in a growing line of terror incidents in the West in recent months where the attacker was already known to intelligence and law enforcement authorities, and yet sufficient action was not taken to protect citizens:
- Earlier this month I noted that Moussa Coulibaly, who stabbed three police officers outside a synagogue in Nice, France, had just days before been deported from Turkey for attempting to join ISIS.
- The two Kouachi brothers behind the massacre on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices last month in Paris had been long known to law enforcement, with one of them already having been in prison on terror-related charges, and yet they had been removed from the radar by authorities just last summer because they were deemed no longer a threat. They were also on the no-fly lists of both the U.S. and the UK.
- Man Haron Monis, aka Sheikh Haron, who in December took hostages at a chocolate shop in the heart of the commercial district in downtown Sydney, Australia, was not only known to law enforcement, but was out on bond on two separate cases and had previously been convicted of harassing the widows of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Authorities had been tipped off via their hotline to extremist statements Haron had been making on his website 48 hours before the attack.
- I first noticed this “Known Wolf” trend back in October after two separate attacks in Canada by Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, both of whom reportedly had their passports stripped by Canadian authorities because they were deemed “high risk” to travel overseas to join ISIS.
Last month, I gave a briefing on the “Known Wolf” terror phenomenon on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth.
What remains to be seen after this Copenhagen incident is whether Denmark’s very passive “jihad rehab” approach to jihadists returning home after fighting with terrorist groups abroad will come under review. That will especially be the case if the killer in this incident (as yet undetermined) had traveled to Syria or Iraq.
With Canada, Australia, France and now Denmark having citizens killed by these “Known Wolf” terrorists, one has to wonder when the U.S. will be targeted again, too.
I’ll update here as more information is available.
UPDATE: Some details about the suspect starting to emerge:
The Copenhagen shooter was reportedly a 22 year old male who was born in Denmark and known by police for previous crimes.
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) February 15, 2015
The Guardian is reporting:
The gunman believed to have attacked a Copenhagen synagogue and a free speech event on Saturday was a Danish-born 22-year-old known to police because of past violence, gang-related activities and possession of weapons, officers have said.
UPDATE2: Suspect’s name is Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, who police considered “extremely dangerous” and was convicted in a stabbing in December, but was released after 2 months while case was on appeal:
The 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, who is believed to be behind the weekend shooting attacks in Copenhagen, the police considered extremely dangerous and was as late as December 2014, sentenced to two years prison for aggravated assault.
At the time, Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein had already been in custody since January 23, 2014.
Still, Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein could on February 15, 2015, just two months after his sentencing and after about one year in custody, walk around freely and heavily armed around Copenhagen. (translation)
— Tinne Hjersing Knudsen (@Tinnehjersing) February 15, 2015
UPDATE3: From the Copenhagen Post – “Police knew alleged attacker’s identity in advance”
Jens Madsen, the chief of intelligence service PET says authorities had known the attacker in advance.
“It is a person we knew in advance, so the short answer is yes. He was on PET’s radar,” he said.
Madsen also said that the attacker may have been inspired by the Charlie Hebdo events in Paris and stresses that the attack is a “sign” that the terror threat against the country and Danish targets abroad is serious.