Germany to extradite Syrian terror suspect to Netherlands

The 26-year-old Syrian was arrested in the German city of Mainz on December 29. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019

Germany to extradite Syrian terror suspect to Netherlands

  • The 26-year-old Syrian was arrested in the German city of Mainz on December 29
  • The same day four alleged co-conspirators were detained in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.

BERLIN: A German court on Wednesday ordered the extradition to the Netherlands of a Syrian suspected of planning a “terrorist crime” there along with four other accused.
The 26-year-old Syrian was arrested in the German city of Mainz on December 29, the same day four alleged co-conspirators were detained in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.
Dutch police at the time said the men were suspected of “involvement in the preparation of a terrorist crime,” without giving further details.
The higher regional court in Koblenz said in a statement that it had approved the Dutch authorities’ extradition request for the Syrian.
The transfer is expected to take place “early next week,” Koblenz prosecutor Juergen Brauer added in a separate statement.
The Netherlands has been largely spared the kind of terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbors in the past few years, but there has been a series of recent scares.
Last June two terror suspects were arrested while close to carrying out attacks including at an iconic bridge in Rotterdam and in France, prosecutors said.
In August a 19-year-old Afghan with a German residence permit stabbed and injured two American tourists at Amsterdam’s busy Central Station before being shot and wounded.
In September Dutch investigators said they had arrested seven people and foiled a “major attack” on civilians at a large event in the Netherlands.
They said they had found a large quantity of bomb-making materials including fertilizer likely to be used in a car bomb.


Families grieve after Kabul wedding blast

An Afghan man mourns during the funeral of his brother after a bomb exploded at a wedding hall killing 63 people and injuring 200 others. (Reuters)
Updated 25 min 35 sec ago

Families grieve after Kabul wedding blast

  • Bride’s relatives, members of music band among victims of Daesh attack

KABUL: Mirwais Elmi’s special night soon became a bloodbath after a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the hotel hall where his wedding ceremony was taking place, killing more than 63 people and injuring 200 others in Kabul on Sunday. Elmi and his bride, who were in separate areas of the venue, survived the blast. The explosion took place just before dinner was to be served to the nearly 1,000 guests who had gathered in the southwest of the city.
The local Daesh affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack Speaking to a private TV channel on Sunday, a shaken Elmi was unable to describe the carnage that took place.
“I am not a groom today, my family, my friends are all in grief,” Elmi, who is in his early 20s and works as a tailor, said.
He added that he never thought “such an incident would happen during my wedding party.”
As survivors buried victims of the attack, an infant’s milk bottle and an invitation card could be seen near one of the hotel’s walls, badly damaged by the blast.
The attack comes as the US and Taliban close in on a peace deal which would lead to the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, nearly 18 years after the Taliban were ousted. The group immediately distanced themselves from the attack and strongly condemned it.
Elmi’s father-in-law lost 14 members of his family, while another man lost three of his sons, four nephews and five of his aunt’s grandchildren, according to survivor accounts.
“My family and my bride are in shock, they cannot speak. My bride keeps fainting. I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again,” he said. All five members of the wedding’s music band were killed. The groom and bride’s families, like many of those attending the ceremony, belonged to poor families.  
None of the guests were government officials sought by Daesh or other militant groups.

Government leaders live behind heavily protected compounds, drive in armored vehicles and have their families living abroad, but we ordinary Afghans are suffering routinely.

Ghulam Hussien Nasiri, Lawmaker

Many of the victims were children and young men. The hotel had no guards and guests were not body searched, according to survivors.
Shi’ite cultural centers and an anti-government protest have all recently come under attack, but Sunday’s wedding blast was the first of its kind, evoking a reaction from President Ashraf Ghani. He blamed Daesh for the incident. “I strongly condemn the inhumane attack on the wedding hall in Kabul. My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack. On behalf of the nation, I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were martyred. “The Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide a platform for terrorists,” he tweeted.
Ghulam Hussien Nasiri, a lawmaker, said the attack exposed the government’s weakness.
“Government leaders live behind heavily protected compounds, drive in armored vehicles and have their families living abroad, but we ordinary Afghans are suffering routinely,” he told Arab News.