2006 German train bombing plot

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On July 31, 2006, two people placed two suitcases filled with bombs on regional trains in Germany. The bombs were supposed to go off near Hamm and Koblenz and according to German investigators, would have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. However, due to faulty construction, the bombs did not go off.[1]

German investigators suspected a terrorist organization was behind the plot.[2]


Youssef Mohamad El Hajdib[edit]

Aged 21 at the time. El Hajdib was arrested at Kiel's central train station on August 19, 2006. There are reports that he was trying to get to Denmark and that he had Odense imam Abu Bashar's telephone in his pocket. Bashar denied knowing El Hajdib.[3] On December 9, 2008 El Hajdib was sentenced to life in prison by a German court [4] for attempted murder and the attempt to cause an explosion.[5]

Jihad Hamad[edit]

Aged 20 at the time. After the failed attack, Hamad fled to Lebanon and tried to hide with his family. He turned himself to Lebanese authorities in Beirut a few days after El Hajdib was arrested. His family lives in Al-Kobbe, Tripoli. In his youth Jihad went to a Christian school.[1] Jihad came to Essen to live with his uncle, study and work. Jihad confessed to depositing the luggage on the trains but said he was unaware it was a bomb.[1] He also said El Hajdib and he had researched on the internet how to prepare attacks which would cause increased suffering.[1] Hamad told Lebanese interrogators that El Hajdib saw the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy as an attack of the Western world on Islam.[6] Further motivation was the killing of Iraqi Al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on June 7, 2006 by US forces. Hamad and El Hajdib lived together in Cologne.

Other suspects[edit]

  • Ayman Hawa, 20 - from Akkar, arrested on August 28, 2006 by Lebanese authorities.[7]
  • Khaled Khair-Eddin el-Hajdib - arrested in Lebanon by authorities
  • Khalil al-Boubou - arrested in Lebanon by authorities
  • Saddam el-Hajdib - brother of Youssef Mohamad El Hajdib, and a high-ranking member of the Fatah Islam group, was suspected of helping plan a serious attack. He was later killed in fighting between Fatah Islam and the Lebanese Armed Forces in Lebanon in May, 2007.[2]


The plans for the bombs were taken from the internet. The suspects diverged at a few points and it was there that technical mistakes were made.[6] The devices cost about 200-300 Euro to build. The bombs were made from propane barbecue canisters to be triggered with gasoline and makeshift detonators. The detonators went off, but failed to ignite the gas.[8] According to German security services the attacks were originally planned for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, several weeks earlier, but the suspects abandoned the plan when they considered the implications of such an attack.[7]

See also[edit]


A search of the suspects' apartment found DNA matching that on the suitcases and receipts for the gas canister and gas. Surveillance cameras caught both suspects carrying wheeled baggage onto the train at Cologne.[6]