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“After mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for jihad,” the student wrote in his journal, according to court documents.

One of the chemical companies, Carolina Biological Supply Co. of Burlington, N.C., reported suspicious purchases by Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, of Lubbock, Texas, to the FBI on Feb. 1.

Within weeks, federal agents had traced his other online purchases; discovered extremist posts he had made on the Internet; and secretly searched his off-campus apartment, computer and e-mail accounts; and read his diary, according to court records.

Mr. Aldawsari, who was legally in the U.S. on a student visa, was expected to appear in federal court on Friday. He was charged Thursday with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Mr. Aldawsari entered the U.S. in October 2008 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to study chemical engineering at Texas Tech University, then transferred earlier this year to nearby South Plains College, where he was studying business.

A Saudi-based industrial company, which was not identified in court documents, was paying his tuition and living expenses in the U.S.

VIRGINIA

Man sentenced for trying to join terrorists

A college dropout and Muslim convert who threatened the creators of the “South Park” cartoon series and then tried to join an al Qaeda-linked terror group in Somalia was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison.

Zachary A. Chesser, 21, of Bristow, Va., pleaded guilty last year to supporting the al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia and posting online threats against the “South Park” creators for an episode that he perceived to be insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

Chesser achieved notoriety on the Internet under the name Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee when he warned the creators of “South Park” that they risked death for mocking Islam. His online propaganda included urgings to leave suspicious packages in public to desensitize authorities to a real bomb threat and instructions on raising children who would grow up to be al Qaeda members.

From wire dispatches and staff reports