Life jail term for Lebanese in German bomb plot

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The Independent Online

A German court today handed a Lebanese man a life sentence for trying to set off bombs on German trains two years ago.

The court in the western city of Dusseldorf convicted Youssef al-Haj Deeb of attempted murder of an undefined number of people. Prosecutors said the planned attacks in western Germany could have caused up to 75 casualties.

Prosecutors said Haj Deeb and an accomplice boarded two trains in Cologne, one headed for Koblenz, one for Dortmund, in July 2006 with suitcases containing tanks of propane gas and crude detonators.

Both men were filmed by video cameras at the station. The bombs failed to go off due to a technical fault.

Haj Deeb told the court he had not intended to kill anyone with the devices, saying he had intentionally built them in such away that they would not explode.

"I am sorry," he told the court last week.

He said his actions had been meant as a warning after cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad were published in a Danish newspaper in 2005, and reprinted by other European publications. The cartoons sparked protests across the Muslim world.