Image: Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib
Ina Fassbender  /  Reuters
Lebanese Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib waits for the verdict in his trial at the regional court in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday.
updated 12/9/2008 7:13:41 AM ET 2008-12-09T12:13:41

A Lebanese man was convicted Tuesday of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison for his part in planting bombs on two German trains.

The Duesseldorf state court found Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib, 24, guilty of multiple counts of attempted murder and attempting to cause an explosion.

El-Hajdib was one of two main suspects accused of planting bombs on two regional trains at Cologne's main station in July 2006. The bombs failed to detonate.

Prosecutor Duscha Gmel said during the trial that "Germany has never been closer to an Islamist attack than in this case."

At his nearly yearlong trial, el-Hajdib admitted that he took part in the plot but said the other suspect — Jihad Hamad, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison last December by a Lebanese court — oversaw it.

El-Hajdib said Hamad planned the attacks as revenge after some German newspapers reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, first published in a Danish newspaper in 2005.

However, he has insisted that he felt from the beginning it was a bad idea and that the bombs were deliberately faulty.

"I swear by God almighty that I had no intention to kill anyone," el-Hajdib told the court last week. "If I had really wanted the attack, I could have finished building the explosive charge correctly."

Evidence in the case included surveillance footage allegedly showing the two suspects wheeling suitcases containing the devices into the train station.

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