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Cousins sought `training in Jihad,' prosecutors say

Cousins sought `training in Jihad,' prosecutors say

Author: Jeff Coen, Chicago Tribune
Publication: Ledger-Enquirer.com
Date: February 27, 2007
URL: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/nation/16792263.htm

Two Chicago-area cousins linked to a terrorism conspiracy last week traveled to Egypt in 2004 and planned to head to Pakistan for military training, federal prosecutors told a judge Monday.

Zubair A. Ahmed, 27, and Khaleel Ahmed, 26, were seeking "training in Jihad," prosecutors said during a detention hearing on whether Khaleel Ahmed should be kept in custody as he is transferred to Ohio to face the charges.

The trip was not a vacation as the Ahmeds have maintained, Assistant U.S. Attorney Vickie Peters said.

"It was intended as the first stop of a trip that would land him on the battlefield of Iraq fighting U.S. servicemen," Peters told U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown.

The cousins were indicted by an Ohio grand jury last week, charged with conspiracy to murder Americans outside the U.S., including troops in Iraq. A detention hearing for Zubair Ahmed, of North Chicago, was delayed until Monday.

The judge ruled that there was no way the defense could rebut the argument that Khaleel Ahmed is a danger to the community given the charges, and ordered him held. He is expected to be taken to Ohio to join several co-defendants in the case.

Three Toledo men - Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, and Wassim Mazloum - were charged in the conspiracy last year and have pleaded not guilty.

Peters told the judge that Zubair Ahmed's father and El-Hindi were able to bring the cousins back from Egypt. El-Hindi believed they needed more training, and allegedly was able to link the men to someone who could provide it.

He did not know that person - identified as "The Trainer" in the indictment - actually was working for the FBI. Peters said the Ahmeds traveled to Ohio, and Khaleel Ahmed allegedly was recorded saying he wanted weapons and sniper training.

Khaleel Ahmed's defense attorney, Brian Sieve, argued his client is not a danger, is employed and has been living with his family. Ahmed has no criminal history and no use of drugs in his past, Sieve said.

The trip to Egypt allegedly took place more than two years ago, and the government did not see any urgency to arrest him, he said. Instead the government is relying on the "emotional appeal of the charges" to detain Ahmed now, Sieve said.

"Mr. Khaleel Ahmed is barely mentioned in the indictment and certainly is not a key player in the conspiracy," he told the judge.

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