NEWARK, N.J., March 3 (UPI) -- Two men pleaded guilty Thursday in Newark, N.J., admitting they were planning to join a militant Islamic group in Somalia to kill U.S. troops, reports said.
Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 21, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, said they planned to join al-Shabaab, a militant Islamic organization in southern Somalia, the (Newark) Star-Ledger reported.
Court papers said they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder people outside the United States "whose beliefs and practices did not accord with their extremist ideology," The New York Times said.
Both men face up to life in prison as part of a plea bargain. They're scheduled to be sentenced this summer.
The defendants told a federal judge they traveled to Jordan in February 2007 to meet with others who supported the establishment of Islamic law, and trained in New Jersey using paint balls and computers.
The men were arrested as they tried to board separate flights out of New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Egypt, and have been held without bail since June, the Star-Ledger said. Both had contacts with undercover agents.
Almonte of Elmwood Park was born in the Dominican Republic and raised a Roman Catholic, though he converted to Islam several years ago, the newspaper said. Alessa holds dual U.S.-Jordanian citizenship and lived in North Bergen, N.J.