US police kill two at Prophet Mohammed cartoon event

US police kill two at Prophet Mohammed cartoon event
2 min read
Texas police shot dead two gunmen on Sunday outside an exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that was organised by an anti-Islamic group and billed as a 'free-speech' event.
A rally against Islamophobia in March 2015, Paris, France. [Anadolu/Getty]
Police say they shot dead two gunmen Sunday outside a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas attended by Dutch far right extremist politician Geert Wilders. 

While no immediate claim of responsibility was made, similar depictions of the Prophet prompted a shooting at French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in January that killed 12 people. 

US authorities are investigating the shooting and police said it was still unclear if the attack was related to the event. 

The right-wing American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI) organized the event in a suburb of Dallas, featuring Wilders, who is notorious for his attacks on Islam and Muslims.  

Police said two men drove up to the conference centre in Garland, Texas, and began shooting at a security guard.  

"Garland Police officers engaged the gunmen, who were both shot and killed," the city of Garland said in a statement.  

The security guard was shot in the ankle and was treated at a hospital and released, the city said.  

Local police said the shootout lasted "seconds," and organisers said they had prepared extra security for the event due to the general risk of an attack. 

About 200 people were inside the event, said local police spokesman Joe Harn.

Offensive Cartoons   

Most Muslims find depictions of the Prophet Mohammed highly offensive and provocative.  

The Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 satirical cartoons in 2005, triggering protests in some Muslim countries.  

Cartoon images of the Prophet Mohammed were also published in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, where gunmen killed 17 people during three days of attacks in January, including 12 at the magazine itself.  

The identities of Sunday's shooters have yet to be confirmed.   

AFDI, criticised for promoting anti-Islamic views, offered a $10,000 prize for the winner of the cartoon contest that was billed as a "free speech" event.