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January 05, 2003

Israel says Palestinian tried to attack ambassador in Germany

Israel has charged a Palestinian man from the West Bank with trying to assassinate Israel's ambassador to Germany, the army spokesman said Sunday.

The Palestinian, Alam Koka, 21, turned to a Lebanese woman living in Germany and Palestinian militant groups with the plan, but no one agreed to cooperate with him, according to the indictment presented last week.

Koka, a resident of the West Bank city of Nablus, made contact with the Lebanese woman through the Internet in August and asked her to take pictures of the Israeli embassy in Berlin, but she refused, the army alleged.

The army did not say when Koka was arrested.

The suspect also asked the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, and gunmen from the Islamic Jihad group to help him carry out the attack. Both militias refused, saying they did not want to carry a large operation outside the region, the indictment said.

Koka joined the Al Aqsa militia a year ago, and planned several attacks, including bombing a Jerusalem nightclub and poisoning the water of an Israeli community, the charge sheet said. These attacks were never carried out, though Koka was involved in shootings on army vehicles in Nablus that injured no one, the prosecutor said.

The Al Aqsa Brigades and other militias have been responsible for dozens of attacks on Israelis during the more than 27 months of fighting.