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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 April, 2004, 01:12 GMT 02:12 UK
US court jails 'Virginia jihadis'
US Muslims pray outside courthouse in Alexandria
The men's supporters have been praying for them outside the court
Two Americans have been jailed for conspiring to wage a holy war, with activities which included military training with paintball games.

Randall Todd Royer and Ibrahim al-Hamdi were among nine men facing sentences over their roles in the so-called "Virginia jihad network".

Royer, who got 20 years, said he helped conspirators join a Pakistani militant group after 11 September 2001.

Some of the group said they intended to go on to fight for the Taleban.

Al-Hamdi, who was jailed for 15 years, admitted training with the Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Toiba, in 2000.

"Today's sentences demonstrate the severe penalties for aiding terrorist causes," said US Attorney-General John Ashcroft. "We will not allow terrorist groups to exploit America's freedoms to pursue their deadly goals."

The group trained by playing paintball games in woods near the town of Fredricksburg.

After the 11 September 2001 attacks on America, several of the men went to Pakistan with the intention of joining the Taleban and fighting US troops.

None of them actually ever joined the Taleban.

Three other members of the group will be sentenced in June.

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