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Jury Convicts 5 Men in US Army Base Plot


A U.S. federal jury has convicted five men of conspiring to kill soldiers in a planned attack on an Army base in the northeastern state of New Jersey.

The jurors, however, acquitted the men Monday of additional charges of attempted murder following six days of jury deliberations. Each defendant faces life in prison on the conspiracy charges.

The verdict follows an 8-week trial in which prosecutors said the defendants plotted to kill U.S. soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey. Prosecutors also argued the men were inspired by al-Qaida, and that their motive was to defend Islam.

Authorities arrested the men, all foreign-born Muslims, in May 2007 after an investigation lasting more than 14 months.

Each of the defendants had pleaded not guilty. Their lawyers say paid informants for the Federal Bureau of Investigation unfairly manipulated the men to talk about a plot they never intended to carry out.

The U.S. Attorney's office has said that three of the defendants were born in the former Yugoslavia, one in Jordan and one in Turkey. They were arrested after trying to buy automatic weapons from a gun seller who was secretly working with federal authorities.

Earlier this year, a U.S. court sentenced an ethnic Albanian immigrant to 20 months in prison on charges of conspiring to provide weapons to the men.

Their arrest followed a lengthy investigation that began with a tip from a worker at an electronics store who said he was troubled by a video that customers asked him to convert to DVD. The tape shows the defendants at a shooting range, shouting "God is great" ("Allah Akbar").

Authorities said there is no evidence that directly connects the men to any international terrorist groups.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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