Militant killed in Lebanon is suspect in foiled German train bombing plot

21st May 2007, Comments 0 comments

21 May 2007, BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ One of the Islamic militants killed in fighting with Lebanese troops in northern Lebanon was a suspect in a failed German train bombing attempt, a Lebanese security official said Monday.

21 May 2007

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ One of the Islamic militants killed in fighting with Lebanese troops in northern Lebanon was a suspect in a failed German train bombing attempt, a Lebanese security official said Monday.

The body of Saddam el-Hajdib was among the burned bodies of 10 Fatah Islam fighters found in a building in the northern city of Tripoli after it was raided by Lebanese troops and policemen during Sunday's fierce fighting with the militants, the official told The Associated Press.

The body of another high-ranking member of Fatah Islam, known as Abu Yazan, was found in the same building in Tripoli, officials said.

El-Hajdib was the fourth-highest ranking official in the Fatah Islam group, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

El-Hajdib had been on trial in absentia in Lebanon in connection with the failed German plot. It was not clear if Lebanese officials had known his whereabouts before the fighting broke out Sunday in northern Lebanon, in the city of Tripoli and in a nearby Palestinian refugee camp where Fatah Islam has set up its headquarters.

El-Hajdib is a brother of Youssef el-Hajdib, who is under arrest in Germany in the bombing attempt.

The German government did not comment Monday on el-Hajdib's death, but did express concern about the fighting in Lebanon.

"We are very worried about the fights between the Lebanese army and armed groups and we condemn attacks on the Lebanese army fiercely," said Martin Jaeger, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry. "The disarming of the militia is urgent."

Four other Lebanese suspects are being held in police custody in Lebanon and are being tried for their alleged role in the bombing attempt. They are Jihad Hamad, Ayman Hawa, Khalil al-Boubou and Khaled Khair-Eddin el-Hajdib.

Khaled el-Hajdib is a cousin of Youssef and Saddam el-Hajdib.

Lebanese authorities arrested the four suspects on charges they allegedly planted crude bombs on two trains at the Cologne, Germany, station on July 31. The bombs, found later in the day on trains at the Koblenz and Dortmund stations, failed to explode because of faulty detonators.

German surveillance cameras are said to have filmed suspects as they wheeled suitcases into the station.

Germany wants to extradite the men, but there is no extradition treaty between Germany and Lebanon. Lebanon has decided to try the suspects in its courts and defer consideration of extradition until later.

Last week, a Lebanese appeals court rejected a request from one of four suspects to move the proceedings closer to the suspects' homes in northern Lebanon.

The appeals court rejected the request presented last month by Hamad's lawyer, and instead the court upheld a Beirut criminal court's decision to keep the trial, set to reconvene Tuesday, in Beirut, court officials said.

At a hearing last month, the defense demanded that the trial be moved to Tripoli, arguing that the suspects' families could not afford travel expenses to Beirut, a two-hour drive away.

The request was rejected by the presiding Judge Michel Abou Arraj, who gave no reason for his decision.

However, court officials, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, have said security concerns, including the possibility of an attack to free the suspects, prompted authorities to hold the four in the country's main maximum security prison and to have the court sit in the Lebanese capital.

AP

Subject: German news

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