6 Charged In Plot To Attack N.J. Army Base

POSTED: 9:06 am EDT May 8, 2007
UPDATED: 10:26 am EDT May 8, 2007

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. -- Six men from New Jersey have been arrested in an alleged terror plot against soldiers at Fort Dix, according to investigators.

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Investigators said the men planned to use automatic rifles to enter Fort Dix and kill as many soldiers as they could at the New Jersey Army base. Fort Dix was just one of several military and security locations allegedly scouted by this group, authorities said.

Investigators told WNBC-TV that these arrests are the result of a tip to the FBI and use of an informant to track the suspects. Authorities were alerted in January 2006 after the terror suspects traveled to the Poconos for a training exercise where they practiced firing automatic weapons, investigators said.

Sources have told WNBC that the suspects tried to have a their training video tape converted to DVD at a store in Cherry Hill, N.J., but the store owner alerted authorities.

Authorities then inserted a cooperating witness into the alleged terror cell to be a go-between in their attempt to purchase M-16 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles. Arrests were made Monday night after the informant delivered dummy weapons paid for by the alleged terror cell suspects.

Investigators said the group discussed targeting numerous locations like Dover Air base, Fort Monmouth, a Coast Guard building in Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Federal building before deciding on Fort Dix as their intended target. Fort Dix is run in part by the Army and is a reserve-training center, but active units take part in training, including some which focuses on counter-terrorism.

According to WNBC, the family of one of the suspects owns a pizzeria near Fort Dix and claimed to know the base "like the back of his hand." The same suspect told the alleged terror group it would be easy to penetrate to "get the most soldiers killed."

Investigators said the group of suspects have been discussing and planning for much of the last year. They allegedly pooled their savings to pay for the operation targeted at soldiers stationed here at home.

The six suspects arrested Monday night will face terror conspiracy charges. Three of the men are brothers, all believed to be Islamic radicals. Authorities have told WNBC that some of the men were born in Albania and the former Yugoslavia. Investigators said most of the suspects have spent several years here in the U.S.

Some of the group's alleged planning was caught on videotape, investigators said. On the videotape there is significant discussion of martyrdom.

"Who is going to take care of my wife and kids," one suspect asks. Another responds, "Allah will take care of your wife and kids." The alleged terror cell is described by investigators as disciples of Osama Bin Laden. Among the evidence seized was the downloaded will and testament of two Sept. 11 hijackers.

Spokesmen for U.S. Attorney Chris Christie and the FBI in New Jersey and Philadelphia could not be reached for a comment.

The suspects will be arraigned this afternoon in front of a Federal Magistrate at 1 p.m and a news conference has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in Camden.

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