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Witness: Suspect in failed German train bombing plot wanted to wage jihad

Witness: Suspect in failed German train bombing plot wanted to wage jihad

One of the main suspects in a plot to bomb a pair of German commuter trains in 2006 talked of waging jihad, or holy war, and thought of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden as a role model, a witness testified Tuesday.
Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib looked up to bin Laden and applauded the Sept. 11 attacks, while bemoaning al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death in a U.S. airstrike in 2006, witness Ahmed el-Hasnoui told a Duesseldorf state court.
El-Hajdib, a 22-year-old Lebanese citizen, and alleged accomplice Jihad Hamad are accused of planting bombs on two regional trains at the main train station in Cologne in July 2006. The bombs failed to detonate.
El-Hasnoui told the court he lived with el-Hajdib in student housing in the German city of Kiel and often prayed and ate with him. But, he said, El-Hajdib was a more conservative Muslim, taking exception when women wore no head scarves, for example.
El-Hajdib also spoke repeatedly of going to Iraq to wage jihad, el-Hasnoui testified.
"His body was in Germany, but his spirit lived in jihad and in Lebanon," the 23-year-old Moroccan testified.
El-Hajdib took exception to the testimony, saying that his former friend had misunderstood him.
"He's no psychoanalyst and can therefore not say what was going on inside me," el-Hajdib told the court.
Evidence in the case includes videotaped surveillance footage allegedly showing the two suspects wheeling suitcases containing the devices into the train station.
The bombs' triggers went off, but the explosives did not detonate and no one was harmed. El-Hajdib was arrested the next month in Kiel; Hamad fled to his native Lebanon and was arrested there.
Earlier this month, el-Hajdib confessed to taking part in the attempted bombing but said Hamad _ sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Lebanese court in December _ oversaw the failed plot.
El-Hajdib testified at the time that Hamad planned the attacks as revenge after some German newspapers reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad first published in a Danish newspaper in 2005.
Hamad, meanwhile, testified in Lebanon that el-Hajdib was the initiator of the failed plot.
German prosecutors charged el-Hajdib in June with an unspecified number of counts of attempted murder and with attempting to set off an explosion.
The trial is expected to last through April.


Updated : 2021-04-14 05:05 GMT+08:00