Terrorist operatives convicted in Germany

A court has convicted four Arab men accused of planning bomb attacks against Jewish targets in Germany.

The men - two Jordanians, a Palestinian and an Algerian - received sentences of between five and eight years on charges of belonging to a terorist organisation and plotting bomb attacks on behalf of Jordanian militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - wanted by the US as al-Qaeda's number-one insurgent in Iraq.

Jordanians Mohammed Abu Dhess and Ismail Shalabi, and Palestinian Ashraf Mohammad al-Dagma, were found guilty of belonging to an Islamist militant group which planned attacks on two Jewish-owned Dusseldorf discos and a Berlin community centre, and received sentences of six to eight years. The fourth defendant, Algerian Djamel Moustfa, was convicted of supporting the terrorist group and breaking Germany's weapons laws.

The prosecution described the four as "the most important members" of the German cell of the Islamic group al-Tawhid, headed by al-Zarqawi. Evidence in the trial, which started in February 2004, included wiretapped conversations in which al-Zarqawi discussed preparations for the attacks with the group.

Following a phone-tapping operation, the defendants and a fifth man were arrested in April 2002, accused of planning to detonate a bomb near the headquarter of the Jewish community in Berlin, and of plotting hand grenade attacks against Dusseldorf restaurants owned and frequented by Jewish people, AKI reports.


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