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Young Hijacking Suspect Has No Terror Ties, German Official Says

A Lebanese-born teenager who hijacked a German city bus with 16 people on board and demanded the release of al-Qaida suspects apparently acted on his own, not as part of a terrorist group, a security official said Monday. Ali Marwan Taleb, 17, forced the bus on a 75-mile trip through northern Germany Friday before surrendering to police on a highway near Hanover. Neither the hostages nor the hijacker, who was arrested, were injured. Taleb has extremist Islamic leanings, but investigators have discovered “no evidence of an organized radical Islamic background,” Lower Saxony state’s top security official, Interior Minister Uwe Schuenemann, said Monday. Authorities have said the hijacker, a naturalized German, demanded the release of four prisoners, including Ramzi Binalshibh, one of the Hamburg-based Sept. 11 plotters who was captured in Pakistan last year and is in U.S. custody. Binalshibh, a Yemeni, is believed to have been the key contact between al-Qaida and the Hamburg cell that included three of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers. Full Story

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