Five convicted of plotting to kill Fort Dix soldiers

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CAMDEN, N.J.—Five Muslim immigrants were convicted Monday of plotting to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix in a case the government said demonstrated its post-Sept. 11 determination to stop terrorist attacks in the planning stages.

CAMDEN, N.J.—Five Muslim immigrants were convicted Monday of plotting to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix in a case the government said demonstrated its post-Sept. 11 determination to stop terrorist attacks in the planning stages.

The defendants were acquitted of attempted murder charges but face life in prison for conspiring to kill military personnel. The federal jury spent about 38 hours deliberating over the past six days.

The men lived in and around Philadelphia for years. The government said after their 2007 arrest that an attack had been imminent and that the case underscored the dangers of terrorist plots hatched on U.S. soil.

Although investigators said the men were inspired by Osama bin Laden, they were not accused of any ties to foreign terror groups.

Defense lawyers argued that the alleged plot was all talk—that the men weren’t seriously planning anything and that they were goaded by two paid FBI informants.

During the eight-week trial, the government relied heavily on information gathered by the informants, who infiltrated the group and secretly recorded hundreds of conversations.

Prosecutors said the men bought several assault rifles supplied by the FBI and that they trekked to Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains to practice their shooting. The government also presented dozens of jihadist speeches and videos that the men supposedly used as inspiration.

Convicted were: Jordanianborn cab driver Mohamad Shnewer; Turkish-born convenience store clerk Serdar Tatar; and brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka, ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslavia, who had a roofing business.

A sixth man arrested and charged only with gun offenses pleaded guilty earlier.

Prosecutors in the Fort Dix case said the group chose the Army post because one of the defendants was familiar with it.  AP

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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