Six held in plot to hit Fort Dix; aimed to kill U.S. sol­diers

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties have ar­rested six men iden­ti­fied as “rad­i­cal Is­lamists” and ac­cused them of plot­ting to “kill as many Amer­i­can sol­diers as pos­si­ble” in an at­tack on the Fort Dix Army base in New Jer­sey.

The six men were ar­rested May 7 in Cherry Hill, N.J., while try­ing to buy three AK-47 au­to­matic ma­chine guns and four semi-au­to­matic M-16s in a sale set up by un­der­cover FBI agents. Four of the men are Al­ba­nian na­tion­als born in the for­mer Yu­goslavia, one is from Jor­dan, and one is from Turkey. All six have been in the U.S. for years — three are here il­le­gally, two have work per­mits and one is a U.S. cit­i­zen.

In what was de­scribed by au­thor­i­ties as a “long and per­sis­tent plot,” five of the men are ac­cused in a crim­i­nal com­plaint filed in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Cam­den, N.J., with con­spir­acy to mur­der U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel. A sixth man is charged with aid­ing and abet­ting the il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of weapons to be used in the at­tack.

U.S. At­tor­ney Christo­pher Christie in Ne­wark said some mem­bers of the group con­ducted sur­veil­lance at Fort Dix and at Fort Mon­mouth, also in New Jer­sey, at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and at the U.S. Coast Guard fa­cil­ity in Philadel­phia. He said the men had a de­tailed map of Fort Dix, where they planned to “use as­sault ri­fles and rocket pro­pelled grenades” to kill U.S. sol­diers.

Mr. Christie said the men did small-arms train­ing at a shoot­ing range in the Po­cono Moun­tains in Penn­syl­va­nia and dis­trib­uted train­ing videos among them­selves that in­cluded de­pic­tions of U.S. sol­diers be­ing killed. He said the group laughed when watch­ing a video of a U.S. Marine whose arm was blown off in an ex­plo­sion.

He also de­scribed one of the six sus­pects as hav­ing de­liv­ered piz­zas at Fort Dix and thus knew the lay­out of the base “like the back of his hand” — draw­ing the group’s de­tailed map “from me­mory.”

“This was a se­ri­ous plot put to­gether by peo­ple in­tent on harm­ing Amer­i­cans,” Mr. Christie said. “We’re very grat­i­fied fed­eral law en­force­ment was able to catch th­ese peo­ple be­fore they acted and took in­no­cent life.

“This is what law en­force­ment is sup­posed to do in the post-9/11 era — stay one step ahead of those who are at­tempt­ing to cause harm to in­no­cent Amer­i­can cit­i­zens,” Mr. Christie said.

“To­day, we dodged a bul­let,” said FBI spe­cial agent in charge J.P. Weiss, who heads the bureau’s Philadel­phia field of­fice. “In fact [. . . ] we may have dodged a lot of bul­lets. We had a group that was form­ing a pla­toon to take on an army. They iden­ti­fied their tar­get, they did their re­con­nais­sance. They had maps. And they were in the process of buy­ing weapons.”

An FBI crim­i­nal com­plaint said in­ves­ti­ga­tors started look­ing at the men in Jan­uary 2006 af­ter a video was brought to a re­tail store and copied to a DVD show­ing 10 men — in­clud­ing the six ar­rested — fir­ing as­sault weapons “in mili­tia-like style” at the Po­conos range. The com­plaint said the DVD recorded the men shout­ing “God is great” in Ara­bic and urg­ing ji­had, or holy war

n Jan. 31, 2006, the com­plaint said, a store of­fi­cial no­ti­fied au­thor­i­ties about the DVD. Two FBI in­for­mants later in­fil­trated the group, record­ing meet­ings and tele­phone calls with the sus­pects as they con­sid­ered at­tacks on U.S. mil­i­tary bases, the com­plaint said.

Au­thor­i­ties also put the men un­der sur­veil­lance while they prac­ticed their at­tacks in the Po­conos, train­ing with paint-ball guns, test-fir­ing weapons and watch­ing videos of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

The men were iden­ti­fied in court pa­pers as Mo­hamad Ibrahim Sh­newer, 22, of Cherry Hill, a U.S. cit­i­zen born in Jor­dan and em­ployed as a cab­driver in Philadel­phia; Ser­dar Tatar, 23, of Philadel­phia, born in Turkey and legally re­sid­ing in the U.S. who worked at a 7-Eleven con­ve­nience store in Philadel­phia and as a de­liv­ery­man at his fa­ther’s pizze­ria: and Agron Ab­dul­lahu, 24, of Buena Vista, N.J., an eth­nic Al­ba­nian born in the for­mer Yu­goslavia who is legally re­sid­ing in the U.S. and works at a Shop-Rite Su­per­mar­ket.

Also iden­ti­fied were three brothers, Eljvir Duka, 23, Dri­tan Duka, 28, and Shain Duka, 26, all of Cherry Hill, who are eth­nic Al­ba­ni­ans born in the for­mer Yu­goslavia who re­side il­le­gally in the U.S. and op­er­ate Colo­nial Roof­ing and Na­tional Roof­ing.

Ab­dul­lahu, who was de­scribed in court pa­pers as a “sniper in Kosovo,” is the one charged only with weapons vi­o­la­tions.

One of the in­for­mants, iden­ti­fied only as CW-1, de­vel­oped a re­la­tion­ship with Sh­newer and, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, was told by Sh­newer to view a video of “what ap­pears to be the last will and tes­ta­ment of at least two of the hi­jack­ers” in the Septem­ber 11 at­tacks. The com­plaint said Sh­newer showed the sec­ond in­for­mant, known as CW-2, a num­ber of videos that “de­picted armed at­tacks on and the killing of United States mil­i­tary per­son­nel.”

Dur­ing meet­ings with CW-1 in early Au­gust, the com­plaint said Sh­newer said he, Tatar and the Duka brothers were part of a group plan­ning to at­tack a U.S. mil­i­tary base, specif­i­cally Fort Dix, and a nearby naval base. It said Sh­newer said six or seven ji­hadists could kill at least 100 sol­diers by us­ing rocket-pro­pelled grenades or other weapons.

The in­for­mant asked Sh­newer what made him think of Fort Dix as a tar­get.

“My in­tent is to hit a heavy con­cen­tra­tion of sol­diers,” the com­plaint quoted Sh­newer as say­ing. “This is ex­actly what we are look­ing for. You hit four, five or six Humvees and light the whole place [up] and re­treat com­pletely with­out any losses.”

The com­plaint also said that Shain Duka said Tatar wanted to join the U.S. Army “so he could kill U.S. sol­diers from the inside” and that when CW-2 asked about Tatar again, Dri­tan Duka said: “He had only one mind, how to kill Amer­i­can sol­diers” and that “rather than wag­ing ji­had over­seas, they could do so in the United States.”

Eljvir Duka, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, was recorded as say­ing: “At the end, when it comes to de­fend­ing your re­li­gion, when some­one is try­ing at­tacks your re­li­gion, your way of life, then you go ji­had.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.