An alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq has said he received money from a man being tried in Germany for supporting terrorism, a court heard Tuesday as it neared a verdict in the case. Amin Lokman Mohamed, 31, is accused of smuggling men and money for Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamic group linked to al-Qaida fighting U.S. and allied forces in Iraq. On Tuesday, judges read out the record of an interrogation by Iraqi authorities of an alleged Ansar al-Islam founder who later joined Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida in Iraq and was arrested there in mid-2004.
The militant, identified as Ibrahim Abdulkarim Aziz, alias Omar Baziani, said he once received money from Mohamed as well as from supporters in London. He gave no details of Mohamed's role or when he received a transfer. According to the Iraqi document, Baziani said he and other members of Ansar al-Islam later linked up with al-Zarqawi.
Baziani said he was a member of al-Qaida in Iraq's governing council and that he was involved in a string of attacks on U.S troops and Iraqi leaders as well as the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003. He did not elaborate.
Prosecutors said Baziani is believed to be in U.S. custody. Baziani said he had helped found Ansar al-Islam in 2001 with the encouragement of al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and al-Zarqawi, all of whom he met on a trip to Afghanistan in 2000. In open court, Mohamed has admitted helping individuals move back and forth between Iraq and Europe before his arrest in Munich in December 2003. But he has denied any links to militants.
The court agreed last month to hold several sessions behind closed doors after the defendant decided to make a "comprehensive" statement. It remains unclear whether Mohamed has changed or added to his testimony. Mohamed, a bearded, youthful-looking man, made no comment at the conclusion of the hearing. Prosecutors and defense lawyers are to make their closing arguments on Jan. 9-10 before the court announces its verdict on Jan. 12.
Mohamed has been on trial since May in one of several cases in Germany exploring shadowy support networks across Europe for Islamic militants fighting in Iraq. Membership of a foreign terrorist group, a charge leveled for the first time at Mohamed, became a crime in Germany under new laws passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, reports the AP. N.U.
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