- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2007

Six men identified as “radical Islamists” and charged in a scheme to attack the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey were ordered held without bail yesterday during a federal court hearing in Camden, N.J.

Federal prosecutors argued that the men, who wanted to “kill as many American soldiers as possible,” posed flight risks. They are being held at a federal detention center in Philadelphia.

Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22, Serdar Tatar, 23, Dritan Duka, 28, Shain Duka, 26, and Eljvir Duka, 23, are charged with conspiring to kill uniformed military personnel, an offense punishable by life in prison. Agron Abdullahu, 24, is charged with helping illegal immigrants obtain weapons and faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

Abdullahu will have another bail hearing Thursday.

The men were arrested Monday night after a 17-month FBI undercover investigation. They were taken into custody by FBI agents, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and state and local authorities as they prepared to buy a cache of assault weapons from an FBI undercover informant.

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday by FBI Agent John J. Ryan in Philadelphia, the six men traveled several times to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania for firearms training, collected an arsenal of handguns, shotguns and semiautomatic assault weapons, and conducted surveillance on Fort Dix and other area military bases.

The complaint said FBI agents were tipped to the plot in January 2006 when a New Jersey retail clerk reported as “disturbing” a videotape a customer wanted transferred to DVD. It said the tape showed men shooting assault weapons in a militialike style while calling for jihad, or holy war.

An investigation was begun by the FBI field office in Philadelphia and the South Jersey Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In March 2006, a paid informant, known as CW-1, infiltrated the group and over the next year recorded conversations and meetings in which plans were described to attack a military base and, according to a recording of one of the men, kill at least 100 soldiers by using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and other weapons.

“Don’t worry about money,” Shnewer was recorded saying. “I have money too as I have been saving money for this plan for some time.”

About a week later, Shnewer described Fort Dix as a potential target, saying: “My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers. … You hit four, five, or six Humvees and light the whole place [up] and retreat completely without any losses.”

During the months leading up to Monday’s arrest, the six men were recorded several times weighing the merits of additional weapons purchases, with the informant telling the group he had access to arms and giving the men a list of weapons for sale.

In early April, the complaint said, Dritan Duka appeared to be ready to purchase a cache of weapons, including Russian-made Kalashnikov semiautomatic rifles, or AK-47s. “I want all of the AKs, all the M-16s … and I need all the handguns, one of each … everything he had on the list,” Mr. Duka is recorded saying.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Jody Weis, who heads the bureau’s Philadelphia field office, said the case reflected a “brand new form of terrorism” that authorities are combating through joint efforts at the federal, state, and local levels.

“Our greatest weapon against terrorism is unity.” he said.

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