RealNews

3 Plead Guilty as Terror Investigation in Virginia Expands

Three members of a suburban Virginia group that federal prosecutors say was training to wage Islamic war abroad, notably in India, have pleaded guilty to weapons charges, and administration officials said today that they planned to expand their investigation into the group. One man who has come under suspicion is a Muslim cleric associated with several of the 11 men charged with taking part in an effort to learn terrorist tactics. The cleric, Ali al-Timini, a well-known preacher in Northern Virginia, was not among those indicted in June. But court papers indicate he persuaded some of the defendants to train abroad with the group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is trying to drive India from Kashmir. The United States government has listed it as a terrorist organization. The indictment said that in mid-September 2001 an unidentified conspirator told seven of the defendants “that the time had come” to “join the mujahedeen engaged in violent jihad in Kashmir, Chechnya, Afghanistan or Indonesia.” The conspirator is identified in other court papers as Mr. Timini. The indictment also said he told them that they could “fulfill their duty to engage in jihad” by joining Lashkar-e-Taiba. Martin F. McMahon, a lawyer for Mr. Timini, did not respond to a telephone message. But Mr. McMahon told The Washington Post earlier this month that he expected his client, a graduate student in computer science, to be indicted. Full Story

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