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Trial Set to Begin for Four Men Accused of Being in Terror Cell

The government will try to convince a jury here this week that four Arab men were operating what it has called a “sleeper operational combat cell” from Chicago and Detroit. Though other terrorism suspects, like Zacarias Moussaoui, have drawn more attention, the Detroit trial, beginning on Tuesday, will be the first significant courtroom test for the Justice Department in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The only similar case to reach a courthouse since 9/11 was that of Mohamad Hammoud, a Lebanese man convicted in June by a federal court in North Carolina of providing material support for terrorism by giving a few thousand dollars from black market cigarette sales to the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah. The government has portrayed the four men who will be tried here this week as something more chilling, a local terror cell that was helping to support potential attacks in the United States, North Africa and the Middle East. “It’s a highly significant case,” said William M. Sullivan, Jr., a former federal prosecutor in Washington. “There’s always pressure as a prosecutor to win, but it’s a national case.” Full Story

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