COPENHAGEN — Danish police said Wednesday that a man who set off a small blast at a Copenhagen hotel five days ago, injuring only himself, is a 24-year-old ethnic Chechen who lives in Belgium.
The man, who the Copenhagen police identified as Lors Doukaev, was detained Friday in a park after the blast in a toilet at the Hotel Jorgensen and remains in custody.
He has refused to cooperate with the authorities who spent days trying to establish his identity before getting help from the Danish tabloid BT, which traced the man to a boxing club in Liege, Belgium, where a trainer recognized his photograph.
Police Inspector Svend Foldager thanked the newspaper and told a news conference Wednesday that the police are now "very certain" about his identity.
Foldager said the suspect is a boxer who has lived in Liege for the past five years. A police statement said he was from Chechnya but had lived in Belgium for several years.
The motive for setting off the blast, which caused injuries to the man's face and arm, remains unknown, police said.
Belgian police searched the man's home in Liege overnight, but Foldager declined to say whether they had found anything there that shed light on the man's intentions.
The Danish Security and Intelligence Service has said the circumstances of the small explosion at the hotel — on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States — "pointed toward a failed terror attack."
But the security service has not elaborated on that possibility, and the Copenhagen police earlier this week dismissed as incorrect a newspaper report that suggested the daily paper Jyllands-Posten may have been the target.
Jyllands-Posten's publication in 2005 of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad ignited protests in the Middle East, Africa and Asia in which at least 50 people died and Danish embassies were torched.
A Belgian identity card and a bus ticket to Belgium in the possession of the man, who is missing his right leg below the knee and has a prosthesis, pointed to Belgium.
After police released a photo and description of the suspect with a crooked nose, which they said appeared broken many times, the tabloid BT started looking in Belgian boxing circles for someone who might recognize him.
"It was immediately clear that the man, based on his broken nose, with a high likelihood had a past as a boxer," BT said Wednesday after it found a trainer in Liege who identified him.
A court has remanded the man in custody until Oct. 4 on suspicion of intending to put others' lives at risk.