Somali in hospital after attacking Danish cartoonist (Second Lead)January 2nd, 2010 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS
London, Jan 2 (IANS) An armed Somali was shot and wounded by the police after he broke into the house of a Danish cartoonist who has enraged Muslims with a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.
The 28-year-old Somali, who was carrying an axe in one hand and a knife in the other, entered the heavily fortified home of Kurt Westergaard in the town of Aarhus at around 10 p.m. Friday after smashing the window with the axe, police said.
Westergaard, whose five-year-old grandchild was with him, pressed the panic button before locking himself and the grandchild inside a specially-made safe room.
Two police officers arrived within minutes of the alarm being raised and shot and wounded the Somali after he attacked one of them with his axe, police said.
He was being treated in hospital for injuries that reportedly were not life threatening.
Officials from the Danish intelligence agency PET said the assailant, a Danish resident, has close ties with Al Qaeda as well as the Somali extremist group al-Shabab and is being treated in hospital.
“The attempted murder of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is linked to terrorism,” the agency said in a statement.
“The person arrested…has close links with the Somali terrorist organisation al-Shabab as well as with the heads of Al Qaeda in east Africa.”
Westergaard, 74, angered Muslims in 2005 with a cartoon that showed the Prophet Muhammad wearing headgear shaped like a turban with a fuse.
He has been under police protection since his cartoon appeared alongside several others in the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper in 2005.
The drawings triggered violent protests and riots in 2006 after the paper refused to apologise. Protests flared again in 2008 when the cartoons were republished by Denmark’s three main newspapers following the arrest of three men for plotting to murder Westergaard.
According to Islamic tradition, no image of the prophet should be produced or shown.
Describing the incident in Saturday’s edition of the Jyllands-Posten, Westergaard said: “He threatened to kill me. I ran out to the bathroom where our security room is. I was worried for my grandchild. I was afraid.”
“I knew that I could not match him. So I alerted the police. It was scary. It was really close. But we did it. It was good,” he told the newspaper, according to The Guardian.
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