Germany launches new terror trial

10th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

10 February 2004, DUESSELDORF - Four alleged followers of Islamic militant leader Abu-Musab Zarqawi went on trial in a high-security courtroom Tuesday, accused of plotting to throw a hand grenade at a Jewish community centre in Berlin. Recent reports have suggested that Zarqawi and his core group, al- Tawhid, could exercise greater influence among scattered groups of violence-prone Islamists than al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. News reports last month said a 65-minute taped sermon by Zarqawi was circulat

10 February 2004

DUESSELDORF - Four alleged followers of Islamic militant leader Abu-Musab Zarqawi went on trial in a high-security courtroom Tuesday, accused of plotting to throw a hand grenade at a Jewish community centre in Berlin.

Recent reports have suggested that Zarqawi and his core group, al- Tawhid, could exercise greater influence among scattered groups of violence-prone Islamists than al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

News reports last month said a 65-minute taped sermon by Zarqawi was circulating among Islamists, and the New York Times said Monday a position paper by him advocated civil war between Sunni and Shiite Moslems in Iraq so as to upset the US hold on that country.

Those charged Duesseldorf were identified as Mohammed Abu-D. and Ismail Abdallah Shaitan S., both Jordanians, and Ashraf Mohammed al-D., a stateless Palestinian.

A fourth man, Djamel M., an Algerian, faces a lesser charge of supporting the cell.

Security was tight at the brand-new top security courtroom, which has been built especially for trials of alleged terrorists.

In November, the state superior court sentenced a Palestinian to four years in jail after he confessed to the plot. Judges said they would have preferred to release him, as he is to be the main witness in the new trial.

The indictment says the four were a German cell of al-Tawhid, and had planned to blow up a Duesseldorf nightclub, a bar in the city frequented by Jews, a Jewish community centre in Berlin or possibly the Jewish Museum in the capital.

In January, the British newspaper The Observer described Zarqawi, 37, a Jordanian Islamic militant, as following a similar agenda to bin Laden, but maintaining independence from the Saudi-born fugitive.

It quoted from what was thought to be a first-ever public statement, which was an audiotape calling on God to "kill the Arab and the foreign tyrants, one after another". Zarqawi is believed to be in Iran or Iraq.

US authorities in Iraq on Monday confirmed US intelligence has intercepted a 17-page, undated document that argued for a "sectarian war" in Iraq in order to rally the Sunni Arab minority to the cause of the extremists. The Americans believed Zarqawi was the author.

The US military spokesman in Baghdad, General Mark Kimmitt, called the document credible and said four of the most savage suicide bombings in Iraq since April were attributed to Zarqawi.

DPA
Subject: German news 

 

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