After their arraignment in federal court in Alexandria late last week, 11 suspected terrorists joined alleged Al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui in the Alexandria city jail.
The 42-count indictment charged them with conspiracy, commencing an expedition against a friendly nation, receipt of a fire arm or ammunition with cause to believe a felony will be committed, acquisition of fire arms after arrival from a foreign country, with intent to engage in a crime of violence, transfer of a fire arm for use in a crime of violence, conspiracy to possess and use a fire arm in connection with a crime of violence, false statements, and using a firearm in connection with a crime of violence.
The indictment alleges that the defendants, some of whom once lived in the Mount Vernon and Alexandria area, conspired to prepare for, and engage in, violent jihad on behalf of Muslims in Kashmir, Chechnya, The Philippines and other countries. As part of this conspiracy, the defendants allegedly obtained weapons, including AK-47-style rifles and practiced small unit military tactics in Virginia, using paintball weapons and other equipment to simulate actual combat in preparation for violent jihad.
THE INDICTMENT also alleges that some of the defendants traveled to Pakistan and trained with Lashkar-e-Taibi, an organization that is focused on conducting jihad against the government of India. Further, the indictment alleges that some of the defendants fired weapons at Indian positions in Kashmir. Lashkar-e-Taibi was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States on Dec. 24, 2001.
“Our success in the nation’s war on terrorism depends on our ability to detect terrorist threats and prevent acts of violence,” said Christopher Wray, Acting Assistant Attorney General. “When individuals meet in the shadows of our nation’s capital to prepare for violent jihad against our allies, we will take action.”
Moussaoui’s trial seems no closer. The recent U. S. Court of Appeals ruling that he is entitled to interview a suspected terrorist that is currently in U.S. custody, makes it more likely that Moussaoui’s case will ultimately be heard before a military tribunal.