German train bomber among defendants in Lebanon terror trial

A Lebanese military court on Tuesday began a trial in absentia of a terrorist group network that includes a man currently in a German jail for plotting an August 2006 train bombing, according to a court source.

The court is trying Shakir al-Abassi, the leader of Fatah al- Islam, and other members of his group. Members fought bloody battles in May 2007 with the Lebanese army in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al Bared, 85 kilometres north of Beirut. Among those being tried were two Saudis, a Palestinian, and Youssef Mohammed al-Hajj Dib, a Lebanese who was sentenced in absentia in Lebanon in 2007 for attempting to blow up trains in Cologne, Germany in 2006.

Al-Hajj Dib is currently in a German jail in Dusseldorf for plotting the failed bomb attacks. According to German police, the bombs, had they detonated, could have caused carnage on a scale seen in Madrid in March 2004 and in London in July 2005. Commuter trains were bombed by Islamist extremists in Madrid in March 2004, claiming 191 lives. The London attacks in July the next year caused 52 deaths, plus those of the four suicide bombers.

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