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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Brother 'shocked' at suicide bomb
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif's body was found in the sea 12 days after the bombing
A British man was in a state of shock when he heard his brother was wanted in connection with a suicide bombing in Israel, the Old Bailey has heard.

Parvaz Sharif said he thought it was "just a bad dream" when he saw his brother Omar on television.

The attack on a Tel Aviv bar killed three people on 29 April 2003.

Omar Sharif's wife Tahira Tabassum, sister Parveen Sharif and brother Zahid Sharif all deny failing to disclose information about terrorism.

Telephone call

Parvaz Sharif, 34, was giving evidence in the trial of his three relatives, who were arrested after the bombing.

Two men and a woman were killed and more than 50 people injured when student Asif Hanif, 21, from London, blew himself up outside Mike's Place, a popular European-style bar, the court has heard.

Omar Sharif, 27, fled when his bomb failed to go off. His body was found floating in the sea 12 days later.

Parvaz Sharif was teaching at a British school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when he received a telephone call from Zahid alerting him to the news.

"I was in a state of shock - I could not even reach the television controls," he said.

At first it was absolutely ridiculous that my brother would be involved in that
Parvaz Sharif
"When I did I saw my brother's pictures plastered over the news, saying he was the most wanted man in Israel.

"I do not know how I slept that night. I first thought it was just a bad dream when I woke up."

Mr Sharif said there were no signs that Omar had adopted an extremist point of view or was plotting to blow himself up.

"There is nothing I know from my conversations and anyone's conversations of anything like that in his nature.

"The only conclusion I can come to - if he had adopted a more extreme nature - it would have to have happened as a result of being over there.

"At first it was absolutely ridiculous that my brother would be involved in that."

'Encouragement'

Mr Sharif said he had not tried to contact Omar after hearing he was on the run.

"If something like that happened, the last thing you would think of doing was to drop off in an internet cafe," he told the court.

He said did not believe his younger brother was involved in the bombing until he saw a video, released by the militant Palestinian group Hamas, showing him in military uniform and holding a gun.

Mike's Place
The scene of the attack was a popular seafront bar

The prosecution claims Omar Sharif's wife Tabassum, 28, of Northumberland Street, Derby, businessman brother Zahid, 37, of Upper Dale Road, Derby, and sister Parveen, 36, a teacher of Breedon Hill Road, Derby, knew of his intentions but did not do anything to stop him.

The prosecution also claims Parveen incited her brother to commit an act of terrorism, which she denies.

She is accused of encouraging him by writing an e-mail suggesting they would all meet in the next life and telling him: "This is no time to be emotional."

Parvaz Sharif, who is not accused of knowing of Omar's plans, claimed he had received a similar message from Parveen in the past when he was struggling with life in Saudi Arabia.

He said she had told him to "stay focused on what you are out there to do" after he had problems with his job.

The trial continues.




SEE ALSO:
Suicide bomber 'was British'
01 May 03  |  Middle East


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