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Five guilty of US army base plot

Artist's sketch of trial in Camden, New Jersey, 16 January 2008
The trial of the five men lasted for eight weeks

A jury has found five men guilty of conspiring to kill US soldiers at the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey, but cleared them of attempted murder.

The five, who are all foreign-born but have spent much of their lives in the US, were arrested in May 2007.

All five could face up to life in jail after being found guilty.

Prosecutors said the men wanted to wage an Islamist holy war on the US. Defence lawyers maintained there was never any intention to stage an attack.

The verdicts followed an eight-week trial and six days of deliberations by the federal jury in Camden, New Jersey.

The men were not accused of links to any international terrorist groups, though investigators said they were inspired by Osama bin Laden.

Prosecuting, the US government said the case showed its determination after 9/11 to prevent terrorist attacks in the planning stages.

A sixth man pleaded guilty in 2007 to providing weapons to some of the defendants, and is serving a 20-month prison term.

Pizza deliveries

Those convicted include Serdar Tatar, a legal US resident from Turkey; Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, a US citizen born in Jordan; and brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka, illegal immigrants from the former Yugoslavia.

Fort Dix
Fort Dix is used for training, particularly for reservists

The five lived in and around Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania.

The FBI has said it infiltrated the group after an alert by a video shop worker, who was asked to copy onto DVD footage of the men firing guns and shouting about jihad, or holy war.

At the time of their arrest, officials said that an attack had been imminent.

But during the trial prosecutors said the groups was probably months away from any attack and did not necessarily have a specific plan.

According to the prosecutors, the men's objective was to kill "as many American soldiers as possible".

They said the base, mainly used for training reservists for Iraq, had been chosen because one of the defendants was familiar with it since his father's pizza shop made deliveries there.

The government relied heavily on information provided by two FBI informants who infiltrated the group of men and secretly recorded hundreds of conversations involving the suspects.

Prosecutors also said men bought rifles from the FBI and went to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania to practise using them.

But defence lawyers said any talk of militancy was only bravado.

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SEE ALSO
US army base 'plot' trial begins
29 Sep 08 |  Americas
Man pleads guilty in US base plot
31 Oct 07 |  Americas
Arrests over US army base 'plot'
09 May 07 |  Americas

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