Bombs tore open a U.S. airline office and damaged a synagogue and Jewish nursing home today in Copenhagen, a European capital that had previously escaped the recent international terrorist wave. Other suspected bombs were found before they could explode.
Twenty-seven people were injured, at least three seriously, authorities said. Three Americans were among those suffering minor injuries, the U.S. Embassy reported.
Police later announced they had taken six foreigners into custody for questioning in the bombings.
In Beirut, an anonymous telephone caller told Associated Press that the attacks were carried out by the Shia Muslim terrorist organization Islamic Jihad to avenge an Israeli raid on a southern Lebanese village Sunday. The claim could not be verified.
Only U.S. Airline
One bomb gutted the quarters of Northwest Orient Airlines near Copenhagen’s Tivoli amusement park. Northwest Orient is the only American airline with offices in the Danish capital.
Another attack, which some bystanders said involved two bombs, damaged the Copenhagen Synagogue and an adjacent Jewish home for the elderly, the Meyers Minne Nursing Home, on a narrow street near Copenhagen’s 17th-Century Round Tower.
Both attacks came within minutes of each other in mid-morning, as shoppers crowded nearby streets, taking advantage of late summer sales.
Harald Ruetz, a Northwest Orient manager, said one employee and two customers were in the office at the time of the explosion, which appeared to have been set off outside its plate-glass windows. He said the employee escaped with minor injuries but he did not know how badly injured the customers were.
Seven Residents Injured
An employee of the nursing home said about seven of its residents had been injured, none seriously. The other victims apparently were passers-by at the two sites.
Police said about half the injured were Danes and half foreigners. The most seriously injured victim was reported by police to have suffered burns over 85% of his body.
J. H. Hasselriis, a deputy police director, told reporters six foreigners were being questioned but had not been formally arrested. He indicated they came from Mediterranean countries.
The Danish news agency Ritzau said at least some of the six had been trying to leave Copenhagen on the 40-minute hydrofoil boat link to nearby Sweden.
Bomb in Flight Bag
Police were investigating a suspected bomb in a Northwest Orient flight bag pulled from Copenhagen’s New Harbor, near the hydrofoil dock, Hasselriis said. News photographers said another suspected bomb was found in a courtyard of Christiansborg Palace, seat of Denmark’s Parliament.
Danish Prime Minister Poul Schlueter issued a statement expressing “sorrow that we now experience that Denmark too is hit by terrorist activity. We have escaped for many years, while unscrupulous men and organizations have spread death and destruction in other European countries.”
The Beirut caller indicated Copenhagen was targeted precisely because Denmark had escaped terrorist activity until now.