Fri, Aug 25, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Suspect in foiled German bombing gives himself up

AFP , KARLSRUHE, GERMANY

The second of two suspects in failed train bombings in Germany has handed himself in to authorities in Lebanon, the office of Germany's federal prosecutor said yesterday.

Nineteen-year-old Lebanese national Jihad Hamad handed himself over to the police in the northern city of Tripoli.

The prosecutor's office said it was arranging to have him extradited to Germany where it believed he and an accomplice tried to blow up two regional trains on July 31 with homemade bombs.

The first suspect, a 21-year-old Lebanese student identified only as Youssef Mohammed E.H., was seized early on Saturday thanks to a tip-off from Lebanese military intelligence.

He was arrested at the main train station in Kiel, in northern Germany, apparently in the process of fleeing the country.

German authorities last Friday said they believed the country narrowly escaped a terrorist attack when the two bombs planted on trains heading for the western cities of Hamm, near Dortmund, and Koblenz, failed to detonate.

The devices were packed into trolley suitcases that were put on the trains when they stopped in Cologne, where security cameras captured images of the alleged bombers.

According to media reports, the first suspect called his family in Lebanon in a panic after seeing these images on German television, allowing Lebanese spies to pick up the call.

Youssef Mohammed E.H. appeared before an investigating judge on Sunday and was told he would face charges of attempted murder, belonging to a terrorist organization and attempting to cause an explosion.

According to the prosecutor's office, both suspects fled to Lebanon after the failed attacks.

The first returned to Germany, where he was studying in Kiel, while it is not clear if Jihad Hamad had come back to the country in the meanwhile.

Media reports have said the plot may have been motivated by the Israeli offensive on Lebanon.

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