October 26, 2005
Four men linked to Iraq's al-Qaeda's leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have been convicted and jailed for planning attacks against Jewish interests in the western Germany city of Düsseldorf. The defendants hurled abused at the presiding judge as he handed down the sentences of between five and eight years in prison. One of the men, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin named Ashraf al-Dagma, bolted out of the courtroom as the judge read out the verdict and the hearing was suspended until he was overpowered by four bailiffs. The defendants were accused of planning to set off a bomb near the headquarters of the Jewish community in Berlin and of plotting hand grenade attacks against a pool hall and a nightclub in Düsseldorf owned and frequented by Jews. The prosecution described the defendants, aged between 32 and 41, as the "most important members" of the German cell of the Islamic al-Taw hid group, whose overall commander is assumed to be Zarqawi. The judge concluded that "it was only a matter of time before the group had the weapons necessary" to mount the assault.