Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"Naturalized" U.S. citizens nabbed in terror plot against U.S.!


CLEVELAND - A federal grand jury indicted three Ohio men on terrorism charges alleging they planned attacks to kill U.S. and coalition military personnel in Iraq and other countries. One of the men, a citizen of both the U.S. and Jordan, is also accused of threatening to kill or injure President Bush, according to the indictment released Tuesday.
All three were arrested over the weekend and were to be arraigned in federal courts in Cleveland and Toledo on Tuesday afternoon, said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Bauer. The indictment does not specify if any attacks were imminent but says the suspects recruited others as early as November 2004 to train for a violent holy war against the United States and its allies in Iraq.
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.
The indictment says the group also traveled together to a shooting range to practice shooting guns and studied how to make explosives.
It also alleges that at least one of the men researched and solicited funding for the training, including getting unspecified government grants and private sponsors. The indictment does not say which government or name any potential sponsors. Mohammad Zaki Amawi is accused of twice threatening in conversations to kill or injure Bush. He also is charged with distributing information about the making and use of an explosive device. The others are Marwan Othman El-Hindi, a U.S. citizen born in Jordan; and Wassim I. Mazloum, who came to the U.S. from Lebanon in 2000, Mazloum operated a car business in Toledo 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 is accused of trying to get a U.S. citizen with a military background to travel with him in November 2004 to the Middle East as part of the suspects' plan to establish a terrorism training center. The indictment does not identify the military person, referring to him or her throughout the document as "the trainer." The FBI and the U.S. Justice Department planned separate news conferences Tuesday afternoon to discuss the case. Neither would comment before then.