German police hope they will soon have the second suspect in custody as wellImage: AP
German Officials: Terror Organization Behind Bomb Suspects
DW staff (sp)
August 24, 2006
The second fugitive suspect in failed bomb attacks on two German trains last month has been arrested in Lebanon after he turned himself in. Officials believe there may be a terror organization behind him.
The 20-year-old Lebanese student turned himself in to the police in Tripoli, Germany's federal prosecutor's office confirmed on Thursday. German authorities said they were working to have the suspect extradited to Germany.
Federal prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum told reporters that the extradition process could take days, weeks or even months. He confirmed that Germany and Lebanon do not have an extradition agreement in place.
Identified by police as Jihad Hamad earlier this week, the suspect is believed to have planted bombs on two German trains last month. Hamad stands accused of membership in a terrorist organization as well as large-scale attempted murder and an attempt to detonate explosives.
"Concrete evidence" for backers
Griesbaum said officials have concrete evidence that the suspect was supported by a terror organization and that efforts are being made to find the other members of the group, according to the Web site of German news magazine Der Spiegel.
The bombs, made with propane tanks and crude detonating devices, failed to go off but authorities say they would have killed a large number of people if they had detonated.
German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that security officials had found explosives, wires, and detonators during the search of a Cologne apartment where Hamad had lived.
Citing unnamed security sources, the paper said that authorities believed the material was used for making the two suitcase bombs discovered on trains in Dortmund and Cologne last month.
Security officials believe that the two suspects -- both Lebanese nationals studying in Germany -- assembled the bombs in Cologne before they transported them to the trains in suitcases.
German police nabbed the first suspect in the northern city of Kiel last Sunday. The other, Hamad, had evaded arrest until now and fled Germany.
"We're not out of danger"
On Wednesday, police published a new, clearer, picture of Hamad and issued an arrest warrant for him.
The head of the Federal Crime Office, Jörg Ziercke said on television on Wednesday that Germany couldn't afford to lower its guard. "We're not out of danger," Zierke told television station ntv.
News of the bomb plot has sparked concerns that Germany is vulnerable to the kind of deadly public transport attack that Britain and Spain have suffered in recent years.