Hizb ut-Tahrir: A danger to the West? Two of Four

world | Sep 24, 2007 | By Adrian Morgan

On Monday, July 31, 2006 two bombs were discovered on German trains. Both had been found hidden inside suitcases while the trains were moving. The first bomb was found in a train approaching Dortmund station, and the other was on a train bound for Koblenz. The bombs were of a similar design - containing canisters of propane gas, wires, and a timer. The devices were both dismantled on the platforms of the stations when the trains arrived. Federal prosecutors claimed that the devices, had they gone off, would have had the power to maim and kill. It was later revealed that both bombs contained packaging from Lebanon.

On August 19, Youssef Mohammed al-Hajdib, a 21-year old Lebanese Muslim student, was arrested at Kiel railway station. He was charged with "attempted murder, belonging to a terrorist organization and attempting to cause an explosion." He had been identified from closed circuit TV images, and another man shown accompanying him was being sought. On August 25 the second man - a Syrian called Fadi Al-Saleh - was apprehended. By this time, two individuals had been arrested in Lebanon.

One of the suspects in custody in Lebanon, who went under the code-name "Hamza" was found to be a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. He had apparently been involved in smuggling Kurds into Lebanon via Syria. Only a few months earlier, the Lebanese Interior Ministry had granted HT permission to operate, the first time since the group had been outlawed in 1953. Hizb ut-Tahrir later denied connections with any of the suspects.

In April this year, four suspects stood trial in Lebanon for their involvement in the German bomb plots. Youssef Mohammed el Hajdib and his brother Saddam were placed on trial in absentia. The trial suffered adjournments. In May these were connected with an uprising at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Tripoli in the north of the country. The uprising was led by Fatah al-Islam and has continued since. On September 2, the fighting appeared to be over. Saddam el Hajdib, who was fourth in command of Fatah al-Islam, was killed in this conflict in May.

This is certainly not the first instance where a Western European terror plot has involved a suspect who belonged to Hizb ut-Tahrir. It is a set pattern for HT to deny any involvement with its members who commit terrorist acts. On April 30, 2003 two British nationals tried to enter Mike's Place on the Tel Aviv sea-front. Both wore explosive belts. One individual, Asif Hanif from Hounslow, succeeded in blowing himself up. He killed three people and injured 65 others. His companion, Omar Sharif from Derby, could not detonate his belt and fled. His rotting body was found floating in the sea 12 days later. Both individuals were associated with the radical group Al Muhajiroun, which evolved from Hizb ut-Tahrir UK. Omar Sharif had initially become radicalized by HT at university, and was receiving emails from the group up until the time he tried to blow himself up. Hizb ut-Tahrir, of course, claims it had nothing to do with his radicalism.

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Adrian Morgan is a British bas
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

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