Police

Police are guarding the area near the attack

Police are guarding the area near the attack

Several dozen shots were fired at the seminar and a manhunt is now under way.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt described it as a ?politically motivated? act of terrorism.

Cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has faced death threats over his caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, was unhurt.

Police initially believed there had been two suspects, but later said they were searching for a lone gunman.

They released a photograph showing the alleged attacker apparently wearing a purple balaclava and thick puffer jacket.

The three injured were police officers.

An audio recording, obtained exclusively by the BBC, revealed the moments leading up to the attack.

One of the speakers at the debate, which took place at a cafe and concerned the limits of free speech, is suddenly interrupted by a barrage of gunshots.

Eyewitness Niels Ivar Larsen, speaking to the Associated Press news agency, said: ?I heard someone firing with an automatic weapon and someone shouting.

?Police returned fire and I hid behind the bar.?

The French ambassador, Francois Zimeray, was also present during the attack.

Shortly after the shooting, a message appeared on his Twitter feed saying he was still alive.

The area around the venue is under lockdown, reports the BBC?s Malcolm Brabant, and police have erected cordons as they search a nearby park.

Strict security

The debate was described on a personal website of Lars Vilks as a talk on whether any limits should be placed on artistic expression or freedom of speech.

A description of the event asked whether artists could ?dare? to be blasphemous in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks by Islamist gunmen in Paris last month.

In an indication of the threat faced by the cartoonist, a note was included on the website saying there was always ?strict security? whenever he spoke in public.

An organiser of Saturday?s event, Helle Merete Brix, told BBC World TV it was being guarded by armed police and security agents from the Danish intelligence service, as well as Mr Vilks? own bodyguards.

She said she clearly considered the incident an attack on Mr Vilk.

Lars Vilks stoked controversy in 2007 by drawing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad dressed as a dog.

In 2010 two brothers tried to burn down the cartoonist?s house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.

Satirists targeting Islam have been in the spotlight since the January attacks in France, when 17 people were killed in separate incidents over a three-day period.

French President Francois Hollande said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve would visit the Danish capital as soon as possible.

A message from the president?s official Twitter feed said Mr Hollande expressed his solidarity with Denmark?s prime minister.

Cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad were published by a Danish newspaper in 2005, sparking deadly riots in some Muslim countries.

Source: BBC

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