Early in the morning of April 11, 2002, Niser bin Muhammad Nasar Nawar and a colleague drove a truck loaded with natural gas canisters behind a German tourist bus near the El Ghriba synagogue on Djerba island in Tunisia. Nawar then used a cell phone to call Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Christian Ganczarski, a Polish-born German citizen who converted to Sunni Islam. Nawar then detonated the explosives, killing 14 German tourists, five Tunisians and two French nationals.
Ganczarski was eventually captured at Charles de Gaulle Airport, in June 2003, and charged with giving Nawar the green light during the phone call before the bombing attack. In February 2009, a French court sentenced him to 18 years in prison for the Djerba bombing.
The United States is now seeking to extradite Ganczarski for allegedly providing the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with critical support before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
According to the extradition request, Ganczarski met several times with senior al-Qaeda leaders between 1999 and 2001, and had close personal ties with bin Laden. Accordingly, Ganczarski, while he was in Germany shortly before September 11, 2001, “had been aware that a significant event was about to occur.”
According to US Attorney Dana Boente, Ganczarski provided al-Qaeda “with the knowledge and technology to carry out attacks against the US military and its allies,” and was living in al-Qaeda camps while planning bomb attacks against US embassies in Africa.
It has been reported that Ganczarski, who is half-way through serving his 18-year sentence in Vendin-le-Vieil prison, upon hearing that he may face extradition to the US attacked and injured three French prison guards with a blade.