Danish sources name Copenhagen gunman, say he got out of jail about 2 weeks ago
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – The Danish gunman who attacked a free-speech seminar and a synagogue in Copenhagen was released about two weeks ago from a jail where he may have been radicalized while serving time for a vicious stabbing.
As Denmark mourned the two victims, these and other troubling details emerged Monday about Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein’s path to the country’s worst terror spree in three decades.
El-Hussein was arrested 15 months ago in a vicious knife attack on a train passenger, and while he was awaiting trial, a change in his behavior last summer set off enough “alarm bells” for jail authorities to alert PET, Denmark’s counter-terror agency, a source close to the investigation told AP.
Such warnings usually set in motion counter-radicalization efforts, such as counseling in jail. It wasn’t immediately clear how aware the court was of this issue before El-Hussein was convicted of a lesser charge.
Sentenced to the time he had already served, he was released about two weeks ago, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because police haven’t officially identified the gunman.
Egyptian warplanes strike IS targets in Libya, pushes for joint international intervention
CAIRO (AP) – Egypt bombed Islamic State militants in neighboring Libya on Monday and called on the United States and Europe to join an international military intervention in the chaotic North African state after extremists beheaded a group of Egyptian Christians.
The airstrikes bring Egypt overtly into Libya’s turmoil, a reflection of Cairo’s increasing alarm. Egypt now faces threats on two fronts – a growing stronghold of radicals on its western border and a militant insurgency of Islamic State allies on its eastern flank in the Sinai Peninsula – as well as its own internal challenges.
Islamic State group weapons caches and training camps were targeted “to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers,” a military statement said. “Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield to protect and safeguard the security of the country and a sword that cuts off terrorism.”
The announcement on state radio represents Egypt’s first public acknowledgement of military action in post-Moammar Gadhafi Libya, where there has been almost no government control.
Libya is where the Islamic State group has built up its strongest presence outside Syria and Iraq. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is lobbying Europe and the United States for a coordinated international response similar to the coalition air campaign in those countries.
10 Things to Know for Tuesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:
1. ALLEGED DENMARK GUNMAN RECENTLY RELEASED FROM JAIL
The man responsible for Copenhagen’s deadly shooting attacks was released about two weeks ago and might have become radicalized there last summer, a source tells The Associated Press.
Here’s a look at Islamic State group’s reach into North Africa, and potential threat to Europe
BEIRUT (AP) – The mass beheadings of Egyptian Christians by militants in Libya linked to the Islamic State group have thrown a spotlight on the threat the extremists pose beyond their heartland in Syria and Iraq, where they have established a self-declared proto-state. Militants in several countries – including Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia – have pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, although the degree of coordination and operational planning between IS leadership and the group’s affiliates remains unclear.
Here’s a look at the Islamic State group’s reach across North Africa, and how the extremists’ growing presence is viewed across the Mediterranean Sea in Europe:
– The country has been in free-fall since the end of the civil war that ousted longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Libya’s elected government has relocated to the far eastern part of the country, while a loose alliance of militias have set up a rival government in the capital, Tripoli. Fighting between government forces and Islamic militias rages in the second largest city of Benghazi. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, embassies have shuttered and diplomats have fled the country, along with hundreds of thousands of foreign laborers, many of them Egyptian.
Egyptian village engulfed by grief, anger after 21 Christian Copts beheaded in Libya
EL-AOUR, Egypt (AP) – This village of small mud alleys and brick homes is shattered by grief. Women draped in black are hoarse from screaming. Men sob in silence, at times shaking their heads as if to expel the horror from their minds.
Just last year, 13 young men from el-Aour, a Christian-majority farming community in Egypt’s Nile River Valley, traveled to neighboring Libya, among the tens of thousands of impoverished Egyptians seeking work there.
But they became victims of Libya’s chaos. They were among 21 Christians dragged off by militants in December and January. After nearly 50 days knowing nothing of their fate, their families on late Sunday saw their monstrous, videotaped last moments: The 21, wearing orange jumpsuits, were marched onto a Libyan beach, forced to kneel with a masked, knife-wielding militant standing behind each, and then beheaded.
The deaths touched everyone in the village’s population of around 3,400.
On Monday, Bushra Fawzi could not stop weeping. He saw his son Shenouda in the video.
Fierce battle persists for east Ukraine rail hub; rebels not ready to pull back heavy weapons
LUHANSKE, Ukraine (AP) – Intense artillery exchanges between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists persisted Monday around a strategic town in eastern Ukraine – fighting that threatens to dash a cease-fire deal brokered by European leaders last week.
Under the cease-fire agreement negotiated by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, the warring sides are to begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line Tuesday. That plan already looks at risk, with the rebels saying they are not satisfied that conditions are in place for the process to go ahead.
Associated Press reporters in Luhanske, a government-held town 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the bitterly contested railway hub of Debaltseve, heard sustained shelling Monday. Some of the artillery appeared to be outgoing, suggesting it was being fired by Ukrainian troops.
Debaltseve, still in government hands, remains in contention despite the cease-fire. The rebels insist the town should revert to their control because they have encircled it. A loaded Grad rocket launcher was seen pointing in the direction of Debaltseve, but it was not fired while AP journalists were present.
Speaking by telephone Monday night, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed concerns about the continued fighting at Debaltseve and “also expressed the wish that the OSCE observers have a free access to continue their work on the ground,” an official in Hollande’s entourage said. The official spoke anonymously because they were not allowed to speak publicly.
AP Exclusive: Sex offenders are often targets as California prisons see high rate of homicides
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Shortly after 2 a.m. on April 6, 2010, a guard at Salinas Valley State Prison noticed Alan Ager’s cellmate trying to stuff something under a mattress. It was Ager, blood trickling from his mouth and a cloth noose tied around his neck.
The convicted child molester died 10 days later without regaining consciousness, his death earning his cellmate a second life sentence.
California state prisoners are killed at a rate that is double the national average – and sex offenders like Ager account for a disproportionate number of victims, according to an Associated Press analysis of corrections records.
Male sex offenders made up about 15 percent of the prison population but accounted for nearly 30 percent of homicide victims, the AP found in cataloging all 78 killings that corrections officials reported since 2007, when they started releasing slain inmates’ identities and crimes.
The deaths – 23 out of 78 – come despite the state’s creation more than a decade ago of special housing units designed to protect the most vulnerable inmates, including sex offenders, often marked men behind bars because of the nature of their crimes.
Amid signs of discord, eurozone meeting gives Greece rest of week to request bailout extension
BRUSSELS (AP) – European creditors issued Greece with an ultimatum Monday, saying the country must accept a key condition in bailout talks by the end of the week or face having to meet its debt commitments on its own – a prospect that many in the financial markets think would leave Greece little option but to leave the euro.
After a meeting of the 19 finance ministers of the eurozone over how to make Greece’s debts sustainable broke down in seeming-acrimony after barely more than three hours, Greece was told it has to ask for an extension to its bailout program before further negotiations on the country’s future financing and economic course can take place.
“We simply need more time and the best way for that at this point is extend the current program which would allow a number of months for us to work on future arrangements,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the so-called eurogroup.
Without some sort of financing arrangements in place after the current bailout ends after Feb. 28, Greece would face real difficulties meeting its obligations, such as debt repayments, over the coming months. Bankruptcy and a potential exit from the euro would loom for Greece once again.
That’s why investors grew increasingly concerned Monday that a deal may not emerge in time to avoid a so-called “Grexit” from the euro – the main stock market in Greece fell 3.8 percent while the euro slipped.
Measles outbreak highlights lack of requirements for most US teachers to get vaccinated
LOS ANGELES (AP) – While much of the attention in the ongoing measles outbreak has focused on student vaccination requirements and exemptions, less attention has been paid to another group in the nation’s classrooms: Teachers and staff members, who, by and large, are not required to be vaccinated.
In most states, there is no law dictating which vaccines teachers and school staff workers are required to get. Some states provide a list of recommended vaccines, but there is no requirement or follow-up for teachers to receive them.
So when a measles case surfaced at a California high school, it was easy for officials to review student records, but there were no immunization records on file for employees.
That meant all 24 teachers and staff exposed to the employee with measles had to prove their immunity – records that, for most, were decades old.
The issue has surfaced from time to time in state legislatures and is likely to be raised again in response to the latest outbreak, which originated at Disneyland in December and has spread to a half dozen states and Mexico. Most of those who fell ill were not vaccinated. As of Friday, public health officials said 114 people had contracted measles.
Tighter online controls in China point to wider clampdown on public debate, information
BEIJING (AP) – Working out of a Beijing office full of video game designers from around the world, Chinese-born Pin Wang and his startup Substantial Games should be the face of the innovative, forward-looking China that the country’s leaders say they want to build.
Pin and his team are attracting investors from across China while launching online games full of swords and sorcery that they hope will dazzle global eyeballs. But for several weeks, Pin’s team has struggled with a decidedly down-to-earth problem that’s hit countless companies nationwide: They’re unable to access their email, shared documents and other online services blocked by China’s Internet censors.
“Something that should take 15 seconds takes three or five minutes, and it screws with the way you flow or you work,” Pin said. “We don’t have the resources to move because we’re a startup. But we talk about it all the time.”
Chinese controls on information have tightened and loosened over the years, but Pin and others are feeling what many say is China’s most severe crackdown in decades on how people learn about the world around them, talk to each other and do business.
On the Internet, in college classrooms and in corporate offices, the Chinese Communist Party has raised the virtual wall separating the most populous country from the rest of the globe. Experts say it reflects a distrust of outside influences that the party thinks could threaten its control on society.
AP News in Brief at 9:58 p.m. EST (The Washington Times)
Danish sources name Copenhagen gunman, say he got out of jail about 2 weeks ago