PARIS (JTA) – Two suspects accused of helping to bomb an ancient Tunisian synagogue claimed they were innocent on the first day of their trial in Paris.
A third suspect, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who is also an accused planner of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and an adviser to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, was not present at Monday’s trial. He is being held at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The synagogue attack took place on the island of Djerba in April 2002. Twenty-one people were killed in the attack and 30 were wounded. The explosion leveled a synagogue dating back roughly 1,900 years.
Suspect Christian Ganczarski, a German convert to Islam, told a French court on terrorism Monday that "I have nothing to do with the attacks. The death of innocents profoundly touches me," reported the French daily le Figaro.
Ganczarski, who was arrested in France in 2003, is believed to have helped prepare the Tunisian bombing.
Co-defendent Walid Nouar, the brother of the Djerba suicide bomber, has no apparent connection to bin Laden and is on trial for involvement in the synagogue attack.