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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
US indicts four on terror charges
US attorney general Alberto Gonzales
US attorney general Alberto Gonzales announced the charges
Four men have been indicted on terror charges in the US for allegedly planning attacks on military bases and synagogues in the Los Angeles area.

The men are also accused of plotting to attack the Israeli consulate and Israeli airline El-Al.

Prosecutors allege the plot was headed by a man in prison.

The indictment claims that that Kevin James allegedly formed the Jamiyaat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (JIS) group while in prison for attempted robbery.

Levar Washington, Gregory Patterson and Hammad Samana are also named in the indictment.

The four are accused of conspiring to attack US military facilities, an Israeli consulate building, and several Jewish synagogues in the Los Angeles area.

If convicted, they could face life in prison.

Recruited

Los Angeles police say they believe the men could have been planning an attack on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in October.

"Make no mistake about it - we dodged a bullet here, perhaps many bullets," said Los Angeles police Chief William Bratton.

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said: "Had these four defendants succeeded in their alleged plots, their attacks would have taken an untold number of Americans."

The Israeli consulate in Los Angeles
The Israeli consulate was on a list of potential targets, prosecutors say

According to the charges, Levar Washington was recruited by Mr James to JIS whilst both were incarcerated at a California prison.

Prosecutors say Mr Washington recruited Mr Patterson and Mr Samana to the group on his release.

They allege that the men then conducted surveillance of military sites and Israeli and Jewish facilities, purchased guns and underwent firearms training.

It was on their arrest on suspicion of robbing petrol stations that police claim to have uncovered the alleged terror plot.

Mr Patterson's lawyer, Winston McKesson, said his client had asked him not to comment, but would allow the matter to be resolved in court, US news agency AP reported.

Representing Mr Washington on the robbery charge, Jerome Haig said he did not wish to comment as he had not read the indictment, and would not be representing his client on the terror charges, the agency said.

And AP said it had tried to contact Mr Samana's lawyer, but he was not immediately returning its calls.





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