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Denmark raises terror alert level
Reports suggest the target of Friday's blast might have been a newspaper that published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2010 06:20 GMT
The alleged attacker was detained in a park near the hotel where the bomb exploded

Denmark has raised its terrorism alert level after a man set off a small explosion in a hotel in Copenhagen, the Danish capital.

"With an overall assessment of the information, we cannot rule out that preparation for something terror-related has occurred," Jorn Aabye, chief police inspector, said on Saturday.

"The security service recommends a slightly higher preparedness," he said.

Daily newspaper Ekstrabladet, citing police sources, suggested that the target of Friday's blast might have been the daily Jyllands-Posten, which in 2005 published cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammad in a way most Muslims found offensive.

Ekstrabladet reported that among the man's posessions, the police had found a map with the address of Jyllands-Posten's headquarters in the city of Arhus circled.

The publication of the cartoons caused outrage among Muslims and at least 50 people died in violent protests in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Last year a plot to attack the paper was unveiled, and in January the creator of the most controversial cartoon escaped an axe attack by a man with al-Qaeda links. 

Attacker unidentified

The man arrested on suspicion of causing the blast in the Copenhagen hotel was ordered to be held in custody until October 4.

At a custody hearing on Saturday, he was detained under preliminary charges for intending to harm others by the explosion.

The suspect, who remains in hospital, chose not to co-operate with the police and his identity is not yet known, Aabye said.

Aabye said the suspect appeared to be European or North African, around 40 years old and spoke excellent English.

After the blast at the Joergensen hotel police surrounded the suspect in Orsted Park and security personnel removed a bag wrapped around his waist with remote controlled cutting pliers.

A police spokesman said the bag probably did not contain explosives as it had not exploded when shot at. Aabye declined to say what had been in the bag.

The park remained sealed off on Saturday as police continued searching for explosives and other evidence.

Police also found a gun in a cellar toilet where the blast occurred, Aabye said.

'Unsuccessful terror attack'

Jakob Scharf, head of the Danish security and intelligence service (Pet), said in a statement "there are circumstances that point in the direction of an unsuccessful terror attack".

However, Pet did not elaborate and said it was too early to say if it was a case of terrorism or other kind of criminal activity.

Paul Brennan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Copenhagen, said the mystery around the potential motive for the attack was causing concern in Denmark.

"The blast destroyed the toilet but didn't cause severe injuries to the man himself, who must have been in close proximity to the explosion, so there must have been a very small amount of explosives," Brennan said.

"Police can't decipher whether this was a serious terror act or someone who was unbalanced. They are thinking it could be preparation for a serious attack."

The hotel is located about 100 metres from Copenhagen's busiest commuter and regional train station.

Denmark has been considered vulnerable to attacks since the publication of the controversial cartoons in 2005.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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