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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
British bomber 'left UK for Iraq'
Omar Sharif
Sharif could have been passing through Israel en-route to Iraq
A Briton who unsuccessfully attempted a suicide bombing in Israel may have been heading for Iraq, a court has heard.

The defence for Omar Sharif's wife told the Old Bailey documents discovered at the couple's home "suggest strongly" Sharif's final destination was Iraq.

The 27-year old was found dead in the sea after his bomb failed to detonate by a busy bar, however, a bomb worn by his colleague exploded, killing three.

Prosecutors say his family failed to disclose information about terrorism.

Final destination

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

The defence acting for Sharif's wife, Tahira Tabassum, told the Old Bailey her husband's stay in Israel may have been unintended on Thursday.

"[Material found at his home] suggests strongly that he was not necessarily thinking of going to Israel, but another way of getting into Iraq," Michael Mansfield QC said.

Mr Mansfield added that books and writings in Sharif's house not taken away by police for analysis - including the Muslim Directory - suggested he had had other plans.

A section suggested "an entirely different objective that Omar had, which would not necessarily have involved suicide bombing - where the destination he had in mind was not necessarily Israel at all, but Iraq," Mr Mansfield said.

Sharif, from Derby, set off to bomb Mike's Place, a popular European-style seafront bar in Tel Aviv, with an associate, Asif Hanif, on 29 April 2003.

Two men and a woman were killed and more than 50 people were injured after Hanif successfully detonated his device.

But Sharif's bomb failed to explode and he escaped. His body was found floating in the sea 12 days later.


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