Trial starts for five charged in Army base plot

Other News Materials 21 October 2008 00:29 (UTC +04:00)

The trial of five men accused of plotting an armed attack on a New Jersey army base opened on Monday with a prosecutor saying they were inspired by al Qaeda and the idea of Islamic "holy war" against America, reported Reuters.

The five men, all Muslims born outside the United States, were charged in May 2007 with planning but not executing an attack on the Fort Dix army base, near Philadelphia.

A defense attorney for one of the five said recordings obtained by paid FBI informants that are key to the prosecution case merely showed the "fake bravado" of men who "talk the talk" of militancy but would never "walk the walk."

Assistant U.S. attorney William Fitzpatrick said the defendants were inspired by "jihad," an Arabic word for spiritual struggle that is frequently used by al Qaeda and by counter-terrorism specialists and media to denote "holy war."

"Their motive was to defend Islam. Their inspiration was al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Their intention was to attack the U.S.," Fitzpatrick told the Federal Court.

He told the jury that prosecutors would present about 90 recordings of the plot obtained by two paid FBI informants during a 16-month undercover investigation.

"They are not shy about saying who they want to shoot: American military personnel," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick said that the five defendants amassed an arsenal including machine guns, semiautomatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades with which they were planning to attack Fort Dix and kill as many soldiers as possible.