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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 16:07 GMT
Strasbourg suspect pleads guilty
Bombing suspect Aeroubi Beandalis wearing an eye mask in a file photo from 2002
Beandalis thanked police for stopping him
One of four Algerian men accused of planning to bomb a market in the French city of Strasbourg has pleaded guilty to the charge.

Aeroubi Beandalis apologised for his role in the plot and thanked police for foiling it.

Mr Beandalis - along with fellow defendants Fouhad Sabour, Salim Boukari and Lamine Maroni - previously said the group had planned to attack an empty synagogue.

The four men were arrested on suspicion of planning to bomb Strasbourg's Christmas market during the 2000 holiday season.

State prosecutors in the German city of Frankfurt, where the trial is taking place, have called for sentences of between 10 and 12-and-a-half years for the four men.

All four stood trial for conspiracy to murder and to plant bombs as well as for weapons offences.

Prosecutors originally also accused the men of membership in a terrorist organisation but later dropped that charge.

Mr Beandalis admitted to attending training camps in Afghanistan.

A verdict is expected on 10 March.

Confession

Mr Beandalis had already admitted to plotting to bomb a synagogue, but said he did not intend to kill anyone because it would be "incompatible with Islam".

I admit to the charges against me and I would like to say again that I'm sorry
Aeroubi Beandalis
Mr Sabour's lawyers, meanwhile, did not contest the charge of conspiracy to plant a bomb.

They did ask that he be found not guilty of violating weapons laws or conspiracy to murder.

They asked for a sentence of no more than seven years in prison. Prosecutors requested 11 and a half years.

The plea follows the conviction in Hamburg of Mounir al-Motassadek on Wednesday for accessory to murder in the 11 September attacks on America.



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