California terror suspects indicted

Sept. 1, 2005 at 7:06 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Four men have been indicted of plotting terrorist attacks in California.

The plotters planned to attack U.S. military facilities, Israeli government facilities and Jewish synagogues around Los Angeles, California, the Voice of America reported. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department announced the charges Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the men allegedly conducted advance planning for the attacks, and robbed or attempted to rob 11 gas stations across southern California to finance the plot.

He said the four conducted firearms training for missions that targeted U.S. military and government officials as well as supporters of Israel and Jews.

"Members of the conspiracy conducted surveillance on several of the synagogues, researching and planning to attack the synagogues on Jewish religious holidays, in order to maximize the number of casualties," Gonzales said according to the VOA report.

The alleged ringleader of the group was a 29-year-old California inmate, who formed a radical Islamic group while in prison. FBI Director Robert Mueller said the group appears to have no ties to international terrorist groups.

"We have disrupted an alleged extremist plot conceived in a California prison and the members of that plot have been indicted," he said.

All alleged members of the plot were U.S. citizens, although one member, Hammad Samana, was born in Pakistan, the VOA said.

Federal prosecutors began looking into the group after two members were arrested in a Los Angeles suburb in connection with the gas station robberies. Each man faces life in prison if convicted on all charges.

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