Danish police thwart "attack" on cartoonist

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Danish police thwart "attack" on cartoonist

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Danish police say they have thwarted the attempted murder of a controversial cartoonist whose caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad sparked a major storm in 2005.

Officers say a Somali man, armed with a knife and axe, tried to break into Kurt Westergaard’s home in Aarhus late on Friday.

Westergaard has received a host of death threats since his pictures were published in the leading Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Police say they shot the intruder in the leg and hand after he threw his axe at an officer. He will be charged with attempted murder.

Danish officials also say the 28-year-old Somali suspect, who had been under surveillance, had close links to Islamist extremist groups and was involved in terror-related activities in East Africa.

The cartoons, one of which depicted Mohammad with a bomb in his turban, triggered outrage in the Islamic world.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam as offensive and, when other newspapers reprinted the caricatures in 2006, riots broke out in the Middle East, Africa and Asia killing at least 50 people.

Three Danish embassies were also attacked and in 2008 al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said Europe would be punished for the cartoons.