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Netanyahu urges Jews to move to Israel after Copenhagen attacks

Netanyahu is seen as exploiting recent attacks in Europe to double the number of Jewish immigrants to Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) arrives to chair the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on 15 February, 2015 (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen's main synagogue.

"Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe," Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call made after attacks in Paris last month that killed 17 people, including four Jews.

Israeli paper Haaretz had reported that Netanyahu's government has working hard to double the number of Jewish immigrants to Israel from Europe by exploiting recent attacks.

Two police officers were also wounded in Sunday's attack, one of two fatal shootings in the normally peaceful Danish capital on the weekend.

In the first attack on Saturday a 55-year-old man was killed at a panel discussion about Islam and free speech attended by a Swedish cartoonist behind controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

"We believe the same man was behind both shootings and we also believe that the perpetrator who was shot by the police action force at Noerrebro station is the person behind the two attacks," senior police official Torben Moelgaard Jensen told a press conference.

Lars Vilks, whose controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed sparked worldwide protests in 2007, had been among the speakers at the Krudttoenden cultural centre when a man opened fire Saturday.

France's ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, who was present at the debate but was unhurt.

"They shot from the outside … only they didn't manage to get in," he told AFP.

"Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200," he said.

Netanyahu reiterated his call for European Jews to migrate to Israel.

"Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they were Jews," Netanyahu said in the statement.

The Israeli prime minister said his government was to adopt a $45 million (39.5 million euro) plan "to encourage the absorption of immigrants from France, Belgium and Ukraine".

"To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms," Netanyahu said.

He had made a similar call after three days of bloodshed in Paris that started with the January 7 attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo where 12 people were gunned down, followed the next day by the shooting death of a policewoman just outside the city.

On January 9, the gunman who killed the policewoman took hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris and four Jews were killed during a police commando raid.

The bodies of the four were later flown to Israel where they were buried.