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Indictment: 3 plotted to kill U.S. soldiers

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) -- Three men from the Middle East were charged Tuesday with plotting terrorist attacks against U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq and other countries.

One of the men, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 26, a citizen of both the U.S. and Jordan, is also accused of threatening to kill or injure President George W. Bush, according to the indictment released Tuesday.

The others indicted are Marwan Othman El-Hindi, 42, a U.S. citizen born in Jordan; and Wassim I. Mazloum, 24, who came to the U.S. from Lebanon in 2000. (Read the indictment)

All three had lived in Toledo within the past year and were arrested over the weekend, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Bauer said.

"This case stands as a reminder of the need for continued vigilance in the war on terrorism," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in Washington.

An unidentified person with a military background helped the U.S. government foil the plot by working with the suspects while secretly gathering evidence, according to the five-count indictment.

The federal indictment does not specify whether any attacks were imminent but says the suspects recruited others as early as November 2004 to train for holy war against the United States and its allies in Iraq.

The three pleaded not guilty in federal courts in Cleveland and Toledo. The most serious charges could bring life in prison.

Two of the men discussed plans to practice setting off explosives on July 4, 2005, so that the bombs would not be noticed, the indictment alleges. It's not clear if the suspects went through with those plans. On the Fourth of July holiday -- Independence Day -- Americans traditionally set off fireworks.

The indictment says the group also traveled together to a shooting range to practice and studied how to make explosives. It alleges that at least one of the men researched and tried to obtain government grants and private funding for the training.

Amawi is accused of threatening in conversations to kill or injure Bush. He also is charged with distributing information about making and using bombs.

Mazloum, who told the court he is an engineering student at the University of Toledo, operated a car business in the city with his brother. The indictment accuses him of offering to use his dealership as a cover for traveling to and from Iraq so that he could learn how to build small explosives using household materials.

El-Hindi, who is self-employed, is accused of trying to get a U.S. citizen with a military background to travel with him in 2004 to the Middle East as part of a plot to establish a terrorism training center. The indictment identifies the military person only as "the trainer."

The Justice Department said the trainer was working on behalf of the government.

In Toledo, El-Hindi's attorney, Steve Hartman, said after the hearing that his client was the victim of an overzealous prosecution.

"It doesn't help that he's Jordanian," Hartman said. "I think he's caught up in the Justice Department's vigorous work."

Amawi was soft-spoken when he entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. He said he was unemployed and was assigned a public defender.

Mazloum's attorney, Chuck Sallah, said he knew very little about his client or the charges, He noted that Mazloum's mother cried and buried her face in her hands during the arraignment in Toledo, which she watched with the suspect's brother and cousin.

All three men are charged with conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure people or damage property in a foreign country. They were also charged with conspiracy to kill Americans and harboring or concealing terrorists.

Gonzales said the investigation is separate, but coordinated with the investigation of a Toledo-based group that the government claims funnels money to the Palestinian militant organization Hamas.

Earlier this week, the Treasury Department ordered U.S. banks to freeze the assets of the group, called KindHearts.

Law enforcement officials later explained that the arrests of El-Hindi and Mazloum in Toledo and of Amawi in Jordan spurred the decision to freeze KindHearts' assets on Sunday.

KindHearts was connected with the Hamas-affiliated Holy Land Foundation and the al-Qaida-affiliated Global Relief Foundation, the Treasury Department said. The government took similar action to freeze the assets of those groups in late 2001.

KindHearts has denied terrorist ties and has said it is a nonprofit humanitarian organization.



Glad they got rounded up. :tu:

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glad we have a good counter-terrorism force. :)

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Saint Macabre

alright! :tu:

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You know theACLU and other lefties will be racing to defend these scumbags.

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Another terror plot thwarted. Well done. :tu:

Edited by supercar

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Three men from the Middle East were charged Tuesday with plotting terrorist attacks against U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq and other countries.

I'd love for them to explain to me how they were planning to conduct terrorist attacks by attacking coalition troops... the military is the military, its a valid target in a war.

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