2 Israelis wounded in Denmark shooting

Middle Eastern-looking man fires at Dead Sea cosmetics stall in Odense mall; attacker flees.

denmark shooting 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
denmark shooting 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Two Israelis were lightly wounded when they were shot by a group of men in a mall in Odense, Denmark on Wednesday afternoon. The Israelis were selling Dead Sea cosmetics at a stand in the mall - a job many young Israelis pursue, usually following military service, in order to save money for their future and to continue their travels. The shooting took place at the Rosengaard mall in Odense, 170 kilometers west of Copenhagen. It took place around 3:30 p.m., when the mall was filled with people doing last-minute shopping before the New Year's break. One of the Israelis was hit in the hand and the other in the leg, police said, adding that their wounds were not life-threatening. The man hit in the arm had his bone broken by the bullet near the elbow, his employer in Denmark told Channel 2 on the phone. The man was speaking as his employee was about to undergo surgery at a Danish hospital. The Foreign Ministry said Israeli security services abroad had already been put on high alert several days ago. Police spokesman Lars Thede said it was not immediately clear whether the Israelis were targeted because of their nationality. A video surveillance camera showed a swarthy man with a dark mustache and dark hair in his mid-20s pulling out a gun before opening fire. "We cannot say whether he is Palestinian, Iraqi, Iranian or Bosnian, or where he is from," Thede said. "It is too early to say whether this has something to do with what happens elsewhere," he said, referring to the Gaza operation. Poul Bjoernhold Loehde, head of the police in Odense, said the Danish Security and Intelligence Service had been informed of the shooting. "Because of the present world situation, we have contacted them. To us, it is an ordinary criminal case," Bjoernhold Loehde told The Associated Press. No one at the agency was available for comment. Alem Dervisevic, an eyewitness, told TV2 that he thought fireworks were going off when the shooting occurred. "But then we saw gun rounds on the floor, we saw people running and shouting," Dervisevic told TV2. "I saw blood and a man lying down near Kvickly (supermarket) and ambulance people picking him up." The men, who were selling hair care products, had been harassed by a group of youths in recent days, Denmark's Ritzau news agency said. The nature of the harassment was not immediately known. According to the B.T. newspaper's Web site, a man shouted something in a Middle Eastern language and opened fire. Another Israeli inside the hairdressing shop threw a chair at the gunman, the newspaper said. The shooter escaped in a dark vehicle which later was found nearby by police. The public's assistance was requested in capturing the assailant.