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American father, sons accused of plotting 'jihad'

An American father, his sons and four others have been arrested in the southern United States and charged with plotting "jihad" against other countries including Israel, US officials said.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2009 17:50 IST

An American father, his sons and four others have been arrested in the southern United States and charged with plotting "jihad" against other countries including Israel, US officials said.

The seven defendants, including the father and his two sons, were arrested by federal police on Monday in the US state of North Carolina, a statement from the US Justice Department said.

The men, who range in age from 20 to 39 and include six US citizens and one legal US resident, went before a federal judge in Raleigh, North Carolina, where they live, immediately after their arrest.

Federal authorities said they plotted to kill themselves and others in the name of Islam.

Their activities, tracked by FBI agents over three years, were detailed in federal indictments released Monday.

They face a complex set of charges, with all being accused of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad. They face life sentences if convicted.

"These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far away land but can grow and fester right here at home," said US Attorney George Holding.

"Terrorists and their supporters are relentless and constant in their efforts to hurt and kill innocent people across the globe."

The oldest member of the group, Daniel Boyd, who is said to be the ringleader, is accused of traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan between 1989 and 1992 for "military-style training in terrorist training camps for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad."

Between 2006 and July 2009, prosecutors allege, Boyd and the other defendants tried to raise funds for terror attacks and underwent assault weapons training.

"The defendants prepared themselves to engage in violent jihad and were willing to die as martyrs," the US Justice Department said.

The other Americans charged were identified as, Boyd's two sons Dylan Boyd, 22, and Zakariya Boyd, 20; Anes Subasic, 33; Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22; and Ziyad Yaghi, 21.

Another defendant, Hysen Sherifi, 24, was a native of Kosovo and was living in the United States legally.

The indictment does not describe any plans to carry out specific attacks inside the United States, but alleges the group did plan to target Israel.

"In June 2007, Daniel Boyd and several other defendants departed the United States for Israel in an effort to engage in violent jihad but ultimately returned to the United States after failing in their efforts," the statement said.

Additionally, another defendant is accused of traveling to Kosovo "to engage in violent jihad," and several of the defendants allegedly undertook fundraising with the goal of sending unnamed other individuals abroad.

After receiving military training in Parkistan and Afghanistan, the elder Boyd allegedly stayed behind to fight in Afghanistan.

He also allegedly traveled to Gaza in March 2006 in order to introduce his son to individuals who also believed that violent jihad was a personal religious obligation.

The men, who were being held without bond, were expected to appear at a follow-up court hearing later this week.

In May, another notorious case of homegrown terrorism led to the convictions of five Miami men found guilty of plotting to blow up the Sears Towers in Chicago, which just this month was renamed the Willis Towers.

Sentencing in that case has been set for September.