Lebanon charges Yemen terror suspect [Archives:2003/682/Front Page]

October 30 2003

Beirut, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Lebanon charged a Yemeni national on Thursday with carrying out “terrorist acts” and masterminding a string of bomb attacks against American fast food outlets, judicial sources said.
They said Moammar Awwama, suspected of ties to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, would be tried by a military court on charges that also include membership of “terrorist cells”, attempted murder and attempts to blow up U.S.-style restaurants.
The charges carry the death penalty.
Awwama, also known as Ibn al-Shahid, was arrested earlier this month by Palestinian Fatah gunmen in the southern Ain al-Hilweh camp and handed over to Lebanese authorities. Security sources identified the man at the time as Moammar Kawama.
Around two dozen Lebanese and Palestinian individuals are also on trial in the case, facing charges of attacks on food outlets such as McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. Some of them are also charged with planning to kill U.S. ambassador Vincent Battle.
Lebanese authorities cracked the cell after a large car bomb was found outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Beirut in April. It failed to explode.
The attacks, some of which caused a few light injuries and damage to buildings, came at the height of the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Lebanon, and Syria which has broad influence over Lebanese security, are under pressure to show they are cooperating with Washington, especially in its “war on terrorism”.