At the time of their arrest, “it had looked like an isolated plot because they declared they had been radicalized by the row over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in European newspapers.” Indeed, it often turns out that while one pretext is invoked as the immediate cause for a jihadist action, the fundamental motivation is the ideology of Islamic supremacism that seizes upon any and all pretexts to advance the cause. The problem is that Westerners continue to be fooled into thinking that if they address the pretext of the moment, the jihad will go away. Those who postured piously about respect for religious figures in the wake of the Muhammad cartoon controversy should reflect on the case of Jihad Hamad and Youssef el Hajdib.
“Terrorism In Germany: Failed Bomb Plot Seen As Al-Qaida Initiation Test,” by Andreas Ulrich in Spiegel Online (thanks to all who sent this in):
Germany narrowly escaped what could have been its worst-ever terrorist attack last July when two bombs placed on trains failed to detonate. The case comes to trial in a Lebanese court this week with German police suspecting that the attack was an initiation test for potential al-Qaida recruits.
German authorities believe that the two Lebanese studentswho tried but failed to detonate self-made bombs in two German trains last July may have done so to qualify themselves for al-Qaida missions in Iraq.
The trial of the two alleged would-be bombers, Youssef el Hajdib, 21, Jihad Hamad, 20 and four other men starts on Wednesday in the Lebanese capital Beirut. Youssef al-Hajdib, who is in custody in a Berlin jail, is being tried in absentia.
Youssef and Jihad had made crude bombs from gas canisters filled with petrol and diesel and deposited them on two German regional trains hidden in large suitcases on July 31. They both boarded trains at Cologne’s main train station and got off after depositing the bombs.
The devices, fitted with alarm clocks for timers, failed to detonate. If they had, they would have created a fireball up to 15 meters wide and hurled deadly shrapnel up to 100 meters, explosive experts said. It could have been the worst terrorist attack on German soil in the country’s history.
They were arrested a few weeks later after being recognized from Cologne station’s security camera footage. Youssef was detained in Germany and Jihad turned himself in to Lebanese authorities after hiding at his parents’ house. At the time, it had looked like an isolated plot because they declared they had been radicalized by the row over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in European newspapers.
But eight months on, after analyzing computer hard drives, mobile phone data, DNA traces and interrogation records, German authorities have reached a different conclusion — that the attacks were commissioned by a man with links to al-Qaida as a test of courage to qualify them for attacks on US-led forces in Iraq.