December 12, 2002


A German convert to Islam who was investigated in connection with the April bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia left Germany last month, German prosecutors said today. According to a German television news report, the man went to Saudi Arabia and police learned of his departure only after the fact.

Christian Ganczarski, 35, was a well-known activist in radical Islamic circles in the western city of Duisburg. According to German officials, he received a call from the driver of a truck laden with heating gas shortly before the truck exploded at a historic synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, killing the driver and 19 other people, including 14 German tourists.

During the call, which was intercepted by German intelligence, the driver, Nizar Naouar, was asked by Ganczarski if he needed anything and replied, "I only need the command," German officials have said.

And he went to Saudi Arabia! Imagine that! And, uh, not very impressive police work on the part of the Germans.