10:20 am - Sunday November 8, 2015

Danish intelligence was alerted by police on the attacker

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Denmark’s domestic intelligence service acknowledged on Tuesday that prison officials alerted the agency last year to the suspected gunman in last weekend’s shooting attacks that killed two people and wounded five in Copenhagen.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service, known by its Danish acronym PET, said the report in September didn’t give any reason to believe that the 22-year-old was planning an attack. PET also said it didn’t have any intelligence before the gunman’s shooting sprees at a cultural centre and synagogue that an attack was imminent.

A Danish documentary filmmaker and a Jewish security guard died and five police officers were wounded in the shootings before the gunman was killed early Sunday in a fire-fight with a SWAT team.

Two sources close to the case identified the gunman to AP as Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. One said he was released from jail about two weeks before the attacks after serving time for a stabbing in November 2013. A Denmark native with Palestinian parents, El-Hussein had been in and out of prison since 2011 after being convicted of weapons, violence and other offenses, court documents showed.

While he was awaiting trial for the random stabbing attack on a train passenger, a change in his behaviour last summer set off enough “alarm bells” for jail authorities to alert PET, Denmark’s counter-terror agency, a source said.

Such warnings usually set in motion counter-radicalisation efforts, such as counselling in jail. It wasn’t immediately clear how aware the court was of this issue; court documents didn’t mention it.

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