World

World leaders denounce Copenhagen shootings as attack on freedom of speech, offer condolences

  • Dansh Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt pays respects Sunday Feb. 15, 2015, at the Copenhagen Synagogue for the victims for the Saturday night’s shootings in Copenhagen.  Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected of carrying out shooting attacks at a free speech event and then at a Copenhagen synagogue, killing two men, including a member of Denmark's Jewish community. Five police officers were also wounded in the attacks. (AP Photo / Thomas Borberg, Polfoto) DENMARK OUT

    Dansh Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt pays respects Sunday Feb. 15, 2015, at the Copenhagen Synagogue for the victims for the Saturday night’s shootings in Copenhagen. Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected of carrying out shooting attacks at a free speech event and then at a Copenhagen synagogue, killing two men, including a member of Denmark's Jewish community. Five police officers were also wounded in the attacks. (AP Photo / Thomas Borberg, Polfoto) DENMARK OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Abir Sultan)

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Abir Sultan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Police working at the scene where police shot and killed the alleged shooter in Copenhagen. Shooting took place early Sunday morning close to Noerrebro commuter station.   Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected of carrying out shooting attacks at a free speech event and then at a Copenhagen synagogue, killing two men, including a member of Denmark's Jewish community. Five police officers were also wounded in the attacks.  (AP Photo / Jens Dresling, Polfoto)  DENMARK OUT

    Police working at the scene where police shot and killed the alleged shooter in Copenhagen. Shooting took place early Sunday morning close to Noerrebro commuter station. Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected of carrying out shooting attacks at a free speech event and then at a Copenhagen synagogue, killing two men, including a member of Denmark's Jewish community. Five police officers were also wounded in the attacks. (AP Photo / Jens Dresling, Polfoto) DENMARK OUT  (The Associated Press)

Public figures across Europe and beyond on Sunday condemned the attack by an unidentified gunman against a free speech event and a synagogue in Copenhagen that left three people dead, including the suspected perpetrator. Investigators in the Danish capital say the gunman could have been inspired by the terror attacks in Paris last month, in which three Islamic radicals killed 17 people at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, a kosher grocery store and elsewhere.

Here's a look at some of the reactions to the events in Copenhagen:

"Denmark has been hit by terror."

"As a nation we have experienced a few hours that we will never forget. We have tasted the nasty taste of fear and powerlessness that the terrorists want us to taste."

"We do not know the motive for the alleged perpetrator's actions, but we know that there are forces that want to hurt Denmark. They want to rebuke our freedom of speech." - Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Europe-1 radio he was struck by how closely the bloody sequence of events in Copenhagen tracked the Jan. 7-9 attacks in Paris.

"First, an attack against the symbol of freedom of expression. Next an attack against the Jews, and then the clash with police."

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"Again, Jews were murdered on European soil just because they were Jews."

"This wave of attacks is expected to continue, as well as murderous anti-Semitic attacks. Jews deserve security in every country, but we say to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Israel is your home." - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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"The shootings in Copenhagen are an appalling attack on free speech and religious freedom. Two innocent people have been murdered simply for their beliefs and my thoughts are with their loved ones and all those injured at this tragic time."

"Denmark and Britain are both successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracies and we must never allow those values to be damaged by acts of violence like this." - British Prime Minister David Cameron.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her "deepest sympathy for the family members of the victims in these difficult hours," spokesman Georg Streiter wrote in a statement.

Merkel confirmed that Germany is standing firmly on Denmark's side and assured Danish Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt that Germany would continue to closely cooperate in all measure regarding the fight against terrorism.

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"We will press forward with our new agreed priorities in the fight against terrorism."

"We will face this threat together." - EU President Donald Tusk.

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"It is important that we stand together in such a serious situation and guard the values on which Denmark is founded." - Denmark's Queen Margrethe in a statement.

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"I think it's horrible what's happening in the world in general, to just have shootings like that close to where you grew up. It's really scary and it's sad."

"You hear on the news about terrible things happening all the time, but when it's so close to you, so close to home, I think you really realize it's not great." - Danish tennis champion and former world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.

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"Denmark has suffered a despicable act of violence. Violence and terror shall not limit our lives." - Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

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"Together we shall stand up for freedom of expression. Nothing shall stop the free word." - Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

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Associated Press reporters Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Jari Tanner in Tallinn, Danica Kirka in London, John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels, Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin, Sandra Harwitt in Dubai, and Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem contributed to this report.