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Video reveals plan to bomb French cathedral

"This cathedral is God's enemy," says an Arabic speaker on a shaky 20-minute video, as a group of men allegedly plan to bomb the marketplace beside Strasbourg's Notre Dame Cathedral.

On 23 December 23 2000, the marketplace beneath the cathedral was bustling with shoppers and tourists - a scene captured on video by the men, believed to be Algerians, who had travelled by car to France from Germany.

In one of the first major trials of a cell linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network, five men were due to go on trial in Frankfurt yesterday for planning the attack in Strasbourg. They are charged with planning to commit murder, to cause an explosion, belonging to a terrorist organisation and falsifying documents, plus weapons offences.

"Here we see the enemies of God as they stroll about. You will go to hell, God willing," the voice says.

The video - which also recorded jihad battle songs on the car's cassette player - shows the group's final preparations to set off a bomb eight days later, during New Year's celebrations, and unleash what could have been one of Europe's deadliest terrorist attacks, according to German police and prosecutors.


17 Apr 2002