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Seven indicted for alleged terror plots on targets in Chicago, Miami

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice announced the arrest of seven men [press release] Friday for conspiring to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago and the FBI headquarters in Miami. A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment [PDF text] Friday charging the seven defendants with conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda; conspiring to provide material support, training, and resources to terrorists; conspiring to maliciously damage and destroy by means of an explosive; and conspiring to levy war against the government of the United States.

The indictment alleges that Narseal Batiste recruited the six other defendants to "organize and train for a mission to wage war against the United States government," and that they pledged an oath to al Qaeda in an attempt to secure financial and logistical backing. To show support for al Qaeda, the defendants took photographs of the FBI building in Miami and other federal buildings in Miami, their hometown. Instead of working with a true al Qaeda representative, however, the men were dealing with an informant with the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force. The last contact the informant had with Batiste was on May 24, when he told the informant that "he was experiencing delays because of various problems within his organization but that he wanted to continue his mission and maintain his relationship with al Qaeda."

In a statement [text] Friday, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] said that the "case clearly demonstrates our commitment to preventing terrorism through energetic law enforcement efforts aimed at detecting and thwarting terrorist acts." According to a DOJ fact sheet [text] released Friday, DOJ anti-terror efforts have resulted in the conviction [DOJ examples] or guilty pleas of 261 defendants since the Sept. 11 terror attacks and charges have been brought against another 180 defendants. AP has more.

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