American authorities on Monday arrested seven North Carolina natives who have been charged with plotting to carry out terrorist attacks overseas, including in Israel, Kosovo, Jordan and the Gaza Strip.
U.S. prosecutors said the ringleader of the group, Daniel Patrick Boyd, trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1989 to 1992 and used that experience to set up his own organization to train fighters, raise money and carry out attacks abroad.
The indictment released Monday does not detail any specific terrorist plans or targets overseas, although it claims some of the defendants traveled to Israel in 2007 with the intent of waging "violent jihad" and returned home without success.
After the unsuccessful attempt at jihad in Israel, the men returned home, officials said. Court papers also say that group memeber Ziyad Yaghi went to Jordan to engage in jihad in 2006.
Boyd was also accused of trying to raise money last year to fund others' travel overseas to fight. One of the men, Sherifi, went to Kosovo to engage in violent jihad, according to the indictment, but it's unclear if he did any actual fighting.
In the seven-count indictment unsealed on Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina, authorities also accused Boyd and others, including his two sons, of traveling to Gaza, Jordan, Pakistan and Kosovo, as well as Israel, to plan or engage in attacks.
A U.S. official told reporters that there was no indication that Boyd's group was connected with an international militant organization or that they were planning attacks in the United States.
"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 George E.B. Holding, the U.S. attorney for eastern North Carolina.
All seven face up to life in prison if convicted.
They were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad. Boyd and others also face weapons charges.
Additionally, the indictment accused Boyd and several of the others in the group with practicing with weapons they acquired - mostly rifles and armor-piercing bullets according to the U.S. official - and trying out military-style maneuvers.
It's unclear how authorities learned of the activities, although court documents indicate that prosecutors will introduce evidence gathered under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Those indicted beside Boyd were named as Hysen Sherifi, Anes Subasic, Zakariya Boyd, Dylan Boyd, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan and Ziyad Yaghi.
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