Danish police arrest man trying to kill anti-prophet cartoonist

COPENHAGEN, Jan 2, (AFP) -Danish police said they shot and arrested an axe-wielding Somali man who tried to kill a cartoonist whose depictions of prophet Mohammed infuriated Muslims.

The 28-year-old who lives in Denmark but was not identified broke into the home of Kurt Westergaard in the western city of Aarhus late Friday. Police guards shot and wounded the intruder before arresting him.
The Somali national had terrorist intent and was close to the radical Somali Shebab movement and leaders of Al-Qaeda in East Africa, the internal security service PET said in a statement.

A file picture taken on September 15, 2006 shows Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard posing at his home in Viby near Aarhus. AFP

Westergaard, who has received several death threats since a Danish newspaper five years ago published his drawing featuring Mohammed wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb, was at his home with a five-year-old granddaughter when the intruder tried to get in.

“I locked myself in our safe room and alerted the police. He tried to smash the entrance door with an axe, but he didn't manage,” Westergaard, 74, told Danish news agency Ritzau. “He used insults, I don't remember which, but it was bad language. He spoke poor Danish and he wound up saying he'd be back,” said the badly shaken cartoonist.

Bent Preben Nielsen, chief police inspector for East Jutland, told AFP that police fired at the aggressor who was threatening them with an axe and a knife, hitting him in the hip and the right hand.

The Somali, who was taken to hospital but whose injuries were not life-threatening, would be charged with “attempted murder of Kurt Westergaard and a policeman,” East Jutland police chief Mikael Larsen said in a communique.

PET said in its statement: “The attempted murder of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is linked to terrorism. The person arrested... has close links with the Somali terrorist organisation Al-Shebab as well as with the heads of Al-Qaeda in East Africa.

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