German police close in on second train bomb terrorist

22nd August 2006, Comments 0 comments

22 August 2006, COLOGNE, GERMANY - Police hunting a youth who planted bombs on German trains raided a Cologne apartment during the night, as more evidence surfaced Tuesday about the Lebanese Shiites believed to be behind Germany's closest shave yet with international terrorism. Two youths were filmed by security cameras in Cologne as they carried bombs concealed in suitcases aboard trains three weeks ago. Because of construction flaws, the bombs failed to explode and turned up in lost-property offices. No

22 August 2006

COLOGNE, GERMANY - Police hunting a youth who planted bombs on German trains raided a Cologne apartment during the night, as more evidence surfaced Tuesday about the Lebanese Shiites believed to be behind Germany's closest shave yet with international terrorism.

Two youths were filmed by security cameras in Cologne as they carried bombs concealed in suitcases aboard trains three weeks ago. Because of construction flaws, the bombs failed to explode and turned up in lost-property offices. No one claimed responsibility.

One of the youths, Youssef Mohamad e-H, a 21-year-old Lebanese, was arrested Saturday. German news reports Tuesday said police had identified the second youth as a 20-year-old Lebanese.

At a three-storey apartment house in Cologne, residents said Tuesday a squad of federal police came looking for him, but he had been absent from his flat for weeks. Police vans and personnel were still at the scene Tuesday afternoon.

Some German news reports said the suspect had left Germany. The residents said the youth's mail had been piling up in his mailbox for some time. Television stations said premises in two nearby cities, Oberhausen and Muelheim-an-der-Ruhr, were also raided.

The first arrest in the case has galvanized Germans. Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the July 31 attack was the closest shave Germany has had with international terrorism. Police have not said which group they suspect was behind the attack.

But news reports Tuesday said e-H was believed to be affiliated through his Shiite clan with Hizb ut-Tahrir, a Lebanese group that is outlawed in Germany. Its name means "party of liberation."

Lebanon's military intelligence service helped Germany to catch him, a senior prosecutor said Monday.

German public television said the youth had apparently fled to Lebanon after the attack, but returned to Germany believing he would not be caught. He had phoned his family in Lebanon after seeing his own picture on TV. The call was tapped.

The website of the news magazine Der Spiegel said the discovery of a colour photo of the Iranian-funded Islamic Centre of Hamburg and its Imam Ali Mosque on the door of e-H's student room would lead to more scrutiny of that institution.

The Islamic Centre, which was run in the 1970s by Mohammad Khatami, later president of Iran, issued a statement denying any link to e-H. "He has never been here," said a spokesman at the mosque in an upscale section of the city.

Fellow students of e-H described him as immature, according to Der Spiegel.

"He was just a kid," they said. He is in detention in Germany's federal justice capital, Karlsruhe, in the southwest of the country.

Since Friday's release of grainy, colour video of the two suspects, German politicians have debated installing closed-circuit TV monitors in more public places.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would hasten legislation to establish a meta-database that could easily search all the existing separate databanks of terror suspects created by Germany's multiple police forces.

DPA

Subject: German news

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