February 21, 2006

3 Charged with Planning Attacks on Troops in Iraq

By Deborah Charles

WASHINGTON -- A grand jury in Ohio indicted three men for conspiring to kill people and for planning attacks against U.S. forces overseas, court documents showed on Tuesday.

The indictment said the three men -- Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman el-Hindi and Wassim Mazloum -- were part of a conspiracy that began in November 2004 to kill people outside the United States, including U.S. troops in Iraq.

"It was part of the conspiracy that one or more conspirators would recruit others to train for violent jihad against the United States and its allies in Iraq, and elsewhere, and would propose potential training sites for use in providing ongoing firearms, hand-to-hand combat, explosives and other paramilitary training to prospective recruits," the indictment said.

The men were indicted in the U.S. District Court in Ohio and were due to appear in court in Toledo and Cleveland later Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will discuss the indictments at a news conference on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, Amawi is a citizen of Jordan and the United States, Mazloum is a legal U.S. resident and el-Hindi is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Jordan.

They worked with a U.S. citizen identified in the indictment only as "the Trainer." The indictment said the Trainer, who was not charged in the case, had a U.S. military background and was recruited by el-Hindi in 2002 to help provide security and bodyguard training.

As part of the conspiracy, the men researched and solicited potential funding sources for jihad training, the indictment said.

The men were also accused of gathering and viewing training materials, some from Web sites, for use in training sessions.

Amawi was charged with downloading a video, "Martyrdom Operation Vest Preparation," on how to make a suicide bomb vest.

The indictment said the men used code words to communicate with co-conspirators in the Middle East. It said they tried to find and provide various resources and materials requested by the co-conspirators for use in fighting against the U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq and elsewhere.

The resources included money, training, explosives, communications equipment, computers or personnel.

(additional reporting by Michael Conlon in Chicago)