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US man convicted in plot to help al Qaeda

A 29-year old Massachusetts resident has been convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda and plotting to kill US forces in Iraq.

world Updated: Dec 21, 2011 11:59 IST

A 29-year old Massachusetts resident has been convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda and plotting to kill US forces in Iraq.

Tarek Mehanna could end up spending his life in prison on four terrorism-related charges including conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and making false statements to the FBI.

The jury reached its verdict following a nearly eight-week trial during when it heard testimony that Mehanna and his co-conspirators discussed participating in violent jihad against Americans.

"From his travel to Yemen to receive training to kill American soldiers to his material support for terrorism at home, Mehanna's efforts to use and support violence followed no pre-defined path and knew no bounds," Special Agent in Charge of the Boston FBI Richard DesLauriers said.

Mehanna and his co-conspirators attempted to radicalise others and inspire each other by watching and distributing jihadi videos.

He had traveled to the Middle East in 2004, seeking military-type training at a terrorist training camp that would prepare them for jihad against US interests, including American and allied forces in Iraq.

One of Mehanna's co-conspirators had made two similar trips to Pakistan in 2002.

After returning to the US, Mehanna continued his efforts to provide material support to terrorism by translating and posting on the internet al Qaeda recruitment videos.

In December 2006, Mehanna gave false information to federal authorities about a trip he undertook Yemen in 2004.

Apart from a life sentence, Mehanna could face three years of supervised release and a $ 250,000 fine.