Lebanon 'helped Germany' catch train-terror bomber

21st August 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 August 2006, KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Lebanon's military intelligence service helped Germany to catch the prime suspect in a narrowly averted plot to bomb passenger trains, a senior prosecutor said Monday. Police swooped before dawn Saturday to catch the 21-year-old Lebanese national as he attempted to flee the northern city of Kiel, three weeks after he and a second man planted the bombs concealed in suitcases. The timers went off, but the bombs failed to explode. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor-general i

21 August 2006

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Lebanon's military intelligence service helped Germany to catch the prime suspect in a narrowly averted plot to bomb passenger trains, a senior prosecutor said Monday.

Police swooped before dawn Saturday to catch the 21-year-old Lebanese national as he attempted to flee the northern city of Kiel, three weeks after he and a second man planted the bombs concealed in suitcases. The timers went off, but the bombs failed to explode.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor-general in Karlsruhe said the decisive tip-off arrived from the Lebanese security agency on Friday night, just hours after Germany published video footage of the two men carrying the cases in Cologne station. She gave no other details.

Police have yet to say what group the suspect, named as Youssef Mohamad e-H, was affiliated with.

The two universities in Kiel said Monday that e-H, had not been an enrolled student as initially reported although he had been living in a student hostel. Police had earlier described him as a second-year student of electronics and mechanical engineering.

The Christian Albrechts University and the Kiel polytechnic said none of their students had a name resembling his.

Police said they still did not know the identity of the second man, but a senior official said Saturday there was no evidence the second suspect had resided in Kiel.

Hostel tenants, who described e-H as quiet and religious, said police allowed them to return to the building late Sunday after forensic teams had combed the building for evidence.

Police have declined to confirm reports that the man claimed his brother had been killed during the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon.

Experts said the pair's July 31 attack failed because of a construction flaw in the bombs. The cases were left on trains and ended up in lost-and-found offices where the bombs were discovered.

August Hanning, state secretary at the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of federal police investigating the failed plot, said on ARD television that construction of bombs, even ones that malfunctioned, required "a good deal of craft skill."

"My impression is that several others were helping in the background," said Hanning.

Germany's main railways company, Deutsche Bahn, says it will step up closed-circuit TV monitoring of stations after the attempt.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that nobody could deny that video monitoring was important.

She 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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