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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 23:30 GMT
Strasbourg bomb suspects face jail call
Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg was said to be the target
German state prosecutors have called for 12 year sentences for four Algerian men accused of planning to bomb a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg.

"They were fully aware that many innocent people - including children - could die or at least be injured," prosecutor Volker Brinkmann said.

The defendants - Aeroubi Beandalis, Salim Boukari, Lamine Maroni and Fouhad Sabour claimed they had planned to attack an empty synagogue.

The trial has brought attention to Germany's position as a centre of suspected Muslim terrorists in Europe.
Osama Bin Laden
The men were accused of having links with Bin Laden's al-Qaeda group

Three of the 11 September hijackers spent several years as students in the northern city of Hamburg.

German police alleged the Algerian suspects had links with al-Qaeda.

The prosecution also said the four had support from radicals in Britain.

Time concern

But prosecutors had given up trying to prove the four men belonged to a terrorist organisation in order to speed up the trial.

The additional terrorism charges would have meant witnesses currently held in custody in the United States, France, Morocco and Britain would have needed to be examined.

A fifth man Samir Karimou is being tried separately for belonging to a terrorist organisation.

The defence is expected to respond next Tuesday.

No date has been set yet for a verdict.


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