A Lebanese court handed down sentences Tuesday for two defendants convicted of attempted mass murder for their role in a 2006 plot to blow up trains in Germany. Youssef al-Haj Deeb, currently in custody in Germany, was sentenced in absentia to life in prison and Jihad Hamad was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Three other defendants out of an initial six charged in September 2006 were found not guilty.
Hamad confessed to participation in the bomb plot, but said that the bombs were meant to cause fear, not kill people. He said the planned bombings were in reaction to cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad, first published in Denmark in 2005 and then republished in several newspapers around the world. The terrorists involved in the plot planted bombs inside suitcases which were left on trains at the Cologne station; investigations show that the detonators went off but failed to ignite the bombs.