– RABEI OSMAN AHMED
Rabei Osman Ahmed was arrested for the first time when he took a train, on 07/20/1999 from Germany to France without any identification. He introduced himself as Muhammad Abdul Hadi Fayed, and claimed to be a stateless Palestinian who came from Libya to stay in Frankfurt. However, the authorities could not verify any of this information.
Rabei Osman Ahmed applied for political asylum as a Palestinian refugee. His request was denied in 07/1999 and he was sent promptly to jail. He was released on 09/12/2000 and sent to a hostel for asylum seekers in Lebach, a town of 22,000 in Sauerland – Saarland. At the refugee center, people noticed that Rabei Osman Ahmed was very religious and spoke English quite well. He started a prayer group and began to act as a kind of imam.
Although Rabei Osman Ahmed was in an asylum hostel he left to Madrid, Spain on 08/29/2001. In Madrid Rabei Osman Ahmed asked for a new passport in the Egyptian embassy. It is unclear what means Rabei Osman Ahmed had at this time.
In Madrid Rabei Osman Ahmed was asked, at least once, to leave his Mosque because he was too radical and, especially after The 9/11, aroused suspicions. Eventually Rabei Osman Ahmed drew the attention of a local Islamic activist Serhane Farkhet, later the ring leader of the Madrid Trains Bombing. Eventually Rabei Osman Ahmedleft left Spain to France.
In France Rabei Osman Ahmed stayed in Vincennes with his cousin Elsheshtawy Ahmed where he worked in different temporary jobs. He was put under partial surveillance by the local police but nothing came out that connected him to radical Islamic activity. In 01/2004 Rabei Osman Ahmed moved to Milan, Italy, and shared an apartment with other two Egyptians relatives. He lived in a high standard without any legal known income. After the Madrid Trains Bombing his cell phone number and address were found on one of the suspects arrested in connection with the attack. Because of the Spanish police request Rabei Osman Ahmed was, again, put under surveillance and taped in Italy.
Short time after the Madrid Trains Bombing, in 04/2004 Rabei Osman Ahmed relocated to another apartment in Milan. The Italian police revealed that he was, intensively, recruiting volunteers to commit suicide attacks in Iraq. One of the volunteers, Yehia Ragheh, moved to live with him in his apartment. Rabei Osman Ahmed, in a taped conversation boasted that the Madrid Trains Bombing was, actually, his project.
When Rabei Osman Ahmed set a meeting on the phone with an alleged suicide bomber, Mourad Shabaro, in Paris, France, on 06/20/2004, the Italian Police, on 06/07/2004, in coordination with the French and Belgian police, arrested Rabei Osman Ahmed and Yehia Ragheh to foil any attempt to execute another terror attack in Europe.
Rabei Osman Ahmed was sentenced in Italy on 11/06/2006 to 10 years in jail for plotting terror attack in Italy and afterwards was extradited to Spain.
On 02/15/2007 Rabei Osman Ahmeds’ trial began in Madrid, along with other 28 defendants, for having a key role in the Madrid Trains Bombing. On 10/31/2007 Rabei Osman Ahmed was aquited in Madrid from all charges.
* Although Rabei Osman Ahmed is defined as one of the masterminds of the Madrid Trains Bombing his general behavior is of a boaster rather then a sophisticated terrorist. Despite that, although Rabei Osman Ahmed cooperated, after his arrest, with the authorities he was not able to reveal the chain of command and the source of the concept implemented in the Madrid Trains Bombing.
* Mourad Shabaro was arrested in Belgium, on 06/07/2004, in a police raid on Islamic militants. Little is known about Mourad Shabaro, the alleged volunteer suicide bomber from Belgium, who was in phone contact with Rabei Osman Ahmed. It is most likely that he was an informant operated by the Belgian Security Service against Al Qaeda cell in that country.
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