Denmark plays down ‘threat’ report

Police say they have no information if man suspected of setting off blast in Copenhagen was part of bigger plot.

The alleged attacker was detained in a park near the Copenhagen hotel where the bomb exploded on Friday 

Danish police say they have no information that the man they suspect of setting off a small explosion in a hotel in Copenhagen, the capital, could be part of a larger plot.

Svend Foldager, a police spokesman, said on Sunday the man could not be “part of something bigger”.

Police, who had previously hinted that the blast could be “a terror attack”, were still trying to establish the identity of the suspect, 48 hours after having arrested him.

Investigators say the man speaks at least three languages but is refusing to say who he is. In court on Saturday, he said he could recall neither his name or his age.

The police said the evidence suggests the French-speaking suspect could have links to Belgium.

The suspect had bought a bus ticket to Belgium before the blast at Joergensen hotel on Friday, police said.

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

In a move to identify the suspect, who carried documents relating to three different identities, police released on Sunday photos and surveillance camera footage from the hotel. Other images showed him at a post office in Copenhagen buying adhesive ribbon and material for wrapping a package.

The man was arrested in a park on Friday after being seen running from the blast site. There were no injuries.

Potential target

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

However, Foldager said the report in Ekstrabladet “was not correct”.

“We’re working from a theory that Jyllands-Posten can be the target but there’s a significant difference from Ekstrabladet‘s information,” he said.

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. 

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

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

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

Bag around waist

After the blast 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.

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

Paul Brennan, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Copenhagen, said on Saturday that 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,” he said.

“Police can’t decipher whether this was a serious terror act or someone who was unbalanced.”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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