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3 Ohio Men Charged in Terror Plot


A federal grand jury in Ohio has indicted three men on terrorism and conspiracy charges for allegedly planning attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and elsewhere.

The U.S. Justice Department said the three men indicted in the terror conspiracy case are from Toledo, Ohio, and were arrested during the past few days.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced the indictments at a Washington news conference.

"The Justice Department is charging Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi and Wassim Mazloum with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts against persons or individuals overseas and with providing material support to terrorists," said Alberto Gonzales.

Amawi is a citizen of both Jordan and the United States. El-Hindi is a U.S. citizen who was born in Jordan and Mazloum is a permanent legal resident who came to the U.S. from Lebanon in 2000.

All three men pleaded not guilty at their initial court appearances Tuesday.

Attorney General Gonzales said the suspects tried to recruit others into their alleged terror plot as early as November of 2004, which included planning for attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and elsewhere overseas using bombs known as IEDs.

"Amawi engaged in an instructional session on the construction and use of IED's [improvised explosive device] and timing devices," he said. "Amawi stated that his aim was to target U.S. military assets. As we know, one of the greatest dangers to our men and women fighting overseas in Iraq is the IED."

Gonzales said Amawi is also accused of threatening to kill President Bush.

The attorney general provided some details on the military training in which the three men allegedly took part.

"The three carried out their own jihad military training exercises, which included the use of firearms and the shooting of weapons," explained Alberto Gonzales. "One sought mortar training. America remains at risk so we must remain vigilant."

The indictment says El-Hindi tried to obtain help from a U.S. citizen with a military background, someone only identified by prosecutors as the trainer. It turns out the trainer was working with federal investigators all along and kept law enforcement officials informed of the alleged conspiracy.

The specific charges include conspiracy to kill, kidnap or injure people overseas and conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals. The three men are also accused of providing material support to terrorists.

If convicted of the charges, the three men could spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Attorney General Gonzales added that all three men are entitled to a fair trial where the burden will be on the government to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

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