Failed Train Attack: Second German Terror Suspect Arrested in Lebanon

The second suspect in a failed terrorist bomb attack on two German trains last month has been arrested in Lebanon following a feverish international manhunt.

Jihad Hamad -- seen here on an international warrant -- has been arrested in Lebanon.
DPA

Jihad Hamad -- seen here on an international warrant -- has been arrested in Lebanon.

The search for a suspect accused of plotting a terrorist attack in Germany ended on Thursday after he was taken into custody in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli. While German officials said he turned himself in to police, the Lebanese authorities said he was lured to the city and then arrested.

Jihad Hamad, a 20-year-old Lebanese citizen who had been living in Cologne, is thought to be involved in a plot to blow up two trains in western Germany on July 31. According to the Associated Press, the Lebanese anti-terrorism police acted on information from Interpol while searching for Hamad for almost a week in northern Lebanon.

German federal prosecutors want him for several counts of attempted murder and membership in a terrorist organization.

"The accused is suspected of leaving the 'bomb trolley' in regional train RE 10121 that left Cologne's central station at 12:51 p.m.," a spokeswoman for German federal prosecutors said according to the DPA news agency.

The federal prosecutor's office has said it will now push for his extradition back to Germany.

Hamad was the second person arrested in connection with the failed attacks last month after two unexploded bombs fashioned from gas canisters hidden in luggage were found in trains in the cities of Koblenz and Dortmund. Another Lebanese man living in Germany, the 21-year-old Youssef Mohamad el Hajdib, was taken into custody last weekend by German authorities.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that anti-terror experts had found plenty of evidence in Hamad's apartment in Cologne, including wiring, unfinished detonators and explosive materials. According to the paper, investigators believe the suspects built their two bombs there before loading them onto trains passing through Cologne's central station. The devices apparently failed to explode because of poor assembly, but officials would not confirm the report due to the ongoing investigation.

"There will be no confirmation or denial regarding what was found in the Cologne apartment," a spokesman for Germany's Federal Crime Office (BKA) said. But BKA President Jörg Ziercke said there was "certainty" that Hajdib and Hamad "worked and planned this deed together."

Both Hajdib and Hamad fled to Istanbul after the failed attack, but Hajdib returned to Germany for unknown reasons, which led to his arrest in the northern German city Kiel. German police were reportedly tipped off as to the identities of the suspects by Lebanese military intelligence after they released video footage of the two men.

mry/ap/dpa

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