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Two more suspects arrested in German bomb probe

Written by: Staff
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BERLIN, Aug 25 (Reuters) Authorities in Germany and Lebanon today detained two more suspects in connection with a plot to detonate suitcase bombs on German trains last month.

Germany's Federal Prosecutors Office said police in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg had ''taken into temporary custody'' a new suspect and that they had searched a room in a student dormitory in the city of Konstanz.

''The federal prosecutors' investigation in connection with the failed bomb attacks on regional trains in Dortmund and Koblenz focused today on another known person due to suspicion of membership in a terrorist organisation,'' the Prosecutors' Office said in a statement.

Lebanese authorities have also arrested a new suspect they believe may have been involved in the plot, a senior Lebanese judicial source said in Beirut.

The Lebanese source said the 24-year-old Lebanese man, with the initials K. H. D., was arrested based on information provided by Jihad Hamad, a 20-year-old suspect who had turned himself in to Lebanese authorities on Thursday.

The detentions bring to four the number of suspects in custody, with two in Germany and two in Lebanon. No formal charges have been filed yet against any of the four.

The two main suspects, Hamad and a 21-year-old Lebanese man named Youssef Mohamad E.H., were identified after security camera footage appeared to show them dragging suitcases onto trains in Cologne last month.

Suitcases like those in the footage were found packed with propane gas tanks and crude detonating devices on trains in the German cities of Dortmund and Koblenz. The explosives failed to detonate.

German prosecutors said they were still investigating ''whether and to what extent the newly detained suspect was involved in preparing the attacks''.

They said he was part of a circle of acquaintainces of Youssef Mohamad E.H., who was arrested in Germany last weekend, apparently while he was preparing to flee the country.

Germany's federal police chief said it remained unclear whether the suspects could be linked to an international militant network or merely part of a local association.

''We assume that this concerns a terrorist group here in Germany, which is also the view of the federal prosecutors,'' Joerg Ziercke said in an interview on Germany's n-tv television.

Hamad's father, a retired Lebanese army soldier, told Reuters in Tripoli, Lebanon he had turned his son in after hearing he was a suspect but could not believe he was part of the bombing plot.

Both Hamad and Youssef Mohamad E.H. had been living in Germany and initially fled to Lebanon shortly after the bombs were discovered on July 31, police say. Youssef Mohamad E.H.

returned while Hamad remained in Lebanon.

REUTERS KR PC1903

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