3 in Ohio guilty of plot against US troops in Iraq

Associated Press Published: June 14, 2008
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Griffin testified that he twice traveled to Jordan with Amawi and also taught Amawi and Mazloum how to shoot guns.

El-Hindi told Griffin, according to recordings heard in court, that he knew two cousins who were eager to receive "jihad training." Griffin asked El-Hindi if he was recruiting for jihad. "Oh no, I just want to take these two," El-Hindi answered, adding that he wanted to take care of them for their families.

The two Chicago-area cousins - Khaleel Ahmed of Chicago and Zubair A. Ahmed of suburban North Chicago - have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill American soldiers and face trial next year.

Amawi, El-Hindi and Mazloum were convicted of conspiring to kill or maim people outside the United States, including military personnel. Amawi and El-Hindi were convicted of distributing information regarding explosives to terrorists.

Defense attorneys said Griffin lied and manipulated the defendants by putting words in their mouths so that he could stay on the government payroll.

Attorneys for the men also questioned how the three men could have been involved in a conspiracy when they never practiced shooting guns together or watched training videos together.

Griffin testified that the three gathered in the same place just once during the two years he investigated them. He also said that he never saw e-mails from the men that talked about plotting to kill soldiers.

Amawi and El-Hindi are U.S. citizens, and Mazloum came to the U.S. legally from Lebanon. El-Hindi was born in Jordan, and Amawi was born in the U.S. but also has Jordanian citizenship.

They had blended easily into the city's thriving Muslim community.

Mazloum was a college student who helped his brother run a used-car lot. Amawi once worked at a bakery. And El-Hindi was a married father of seven.

All had moved to the Toledo area only in recent years. Still, the arrests stunned the city's Arab-American community, which has been rooted in the city for generations and produced actor Jamie Farr and entertainer Danny Thomas.

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Associated Press writers Thomas J. Sheeran and M.R. Kropko in Cleveland and John Seewer in Toledo contributed to this report.

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