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Danish police investigating whether suspect targeted newspaper

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Suspect was carrying identity papers from 3 countries, police say
  • The Jyllands-Posten newspaper triggered global controversy in 2005
  • The paper published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed

(CNN) -- A man arrested and charged with weapons violations after a small explosion at a Danish hotel was carrying identity papers from three central European countries, police said Sunday.

Authorities have not identified the man, but said he was "about 40." A judge on Saturday ordered him held in custody until October 4 while an investigation into the incident continues.

Police said they have not ruled out the possibility the incident was terror-related. They said on Sunday they are working from a theory that the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Aarhus, Denmark, may have been targeted, but said media reports that the man had plans to attack the paper were inaccurate.

Jyllands-Posten triggered global protests and controversy in 2005 when it published 12 drawings of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. The controversy grew in early 2006 when a Norwegian newspaper reprinted the drawings. Islamic law generally bans any depiction of Mohammed.

Some of the images in question were considered to be particularly demeaning, including an image of Mohammed wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse. Jyllands-Posten apologized for the cartoons, saying it did not mean to offend Muslims and that the drawings had to be understood in their original contexts.

Police said the man allegedly caused an explosion Friday in the basement bathroom of the Hotel Joergensen in central Copenhagen, Denmark. The blast destroyed the bathroom and injured the suspect, who then ran into a nearby park. Police surrounded the man in the park and the bomb squad detonated a pouch he was wearing.

Guests and workers at the hotel were evacuated while explosives experts searched through rooms and bags, police said.

The man was treated at a Copenhagen, Denmark, hospital for injuries he received in the hotel blast, police said. The extent

of his injuries was unclear, although police said they were not life-threatening.

On Saturday, he appeared before a judge at a closed hearing and said he was innocent of attempting to explode a bomb and carrying an illegal weapon. The suspect was on crutches as he is missing a leg, though it was not immediately clear whether the injury was a result of the explosion.

He was charged with possession of a gun and the explosion of a bomb with the intent of putting lives at risk, according to Danish journalist Elisabeth Arnsdorf Haslund.

The man was in possession of a small amount of explosive, police said Sunday, and they do not expect to find more. They also have no proof others were involved.

He speaks English, German and French, police said. Authorities know he was in several places in Copenhagen, Denmark, and at one point bought a bus ticket to Belgium with Eurolines.

Police on Saturday had said the man was refusing to cooperate and answer questions, and that they were working with international police agencies to establish his identity and movements. The papers that he had when arrested did not match his person, they said earlier.

The man checked into the hotel on Tuesday, September 7, and checked out Friday morning, police said Sunday. Authorities do not know how or when he came to Denmark.

Denmark raised its alert level after the arrest based on advice from the Danish intelligence and security service, which is involved with the investigation, police said.

"We have evaluated the information we have at present and cannot exclude that this was an act of preparation for terror," Copenhagen Chief Police Inspector Jorn Aabye said Saturday, according to CNN affiliate TV2 Denmark.

CNN's Susanne Gargiulo contributed to this report.