Albanians, Turk and a Jordanian arrested for the planning of a terrorist attack in USA

Federal investigators last night arrested six Islamic
radicals who were planning a heavily armed attack
against soldiers at Fort Dix as part of a jihad
against America, according to the U.S. Attorney’s
Office.

In a statement released this morning that confirmed an
earlier report on nj.com, The Star-Ledger’s Web site,
the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the men planned to
“kill as many soldiers as possible.”

The alleged plot included conducting surveillance of
the Army base and purchasing multiple firearms,
including hand guns, shotguns and semi-automatic
weapons, according to the federal complaint released
this morning.

The bust came after several of the suspects were lured
by a secret informant to a meeting with an
arms-seller, according to the complaint.

Some of the would-be attackers have been living
illegally in the United States, while others are legal
immigrants, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Four are ethnic Albanians, one was born in Turkey, and
a sixth was born in Jordan, according to the U.S.
Attorney’s Office.

Officials identified the men as Dritan Duka, Eljvir
Duka, Shain Duka, Serdar Tatar, Mohamad Shnewer and
Agron Abdullahu. They are described as being in their
early 20s.

The six had been under FBI surveillance for 15 months
and prepared for their alleged plot by shooting
paintball guns and real weapons in Gouldsboro, Pa., 30
miles southeast of Scranton, officials said. One had
experience as a sniper in Kosovo, according to the
complaint.

The men also allegedly watched jihadist videos in
which Osama bin Laden urged them toward martyrdom.

“They were prepared to die,” said a law enforcement
source who requested anonymity because they were not
authorized to speak about the arrests. “We became
increasingly convinced this was for real and these
guys were ready to roll.”

The men had scouted out Fort Monmouth, Dover Air Force
Base, Lakehurst Naval Air Station and the Philadelphia
Naval Shipyard before settling on Fort Dix, a base
that is used to mobilize troops to Iraq, according to
the complaint. One of them, Tatar, had regular access
to secure areas of the facility through his job as a
deliveryman and knew “it like the palm of his hand,”
according to the complaint.

The men – several of whom are relatives – had
videotaped their practice sessions in Pennsylvania,
according to the complaint. That videotape, in which
they fired assault weapons and railed against America,
led to their arrests.

They made the mistake of bringing it to a retail
store, seeking to get a copy burned to a DVD,
according to the complaint. A store employee who later
watched the tape called the FBI who began immediately
investigating.

U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said the arrest
demonstrates the tenacity of America’s efforts to
thwart terrorists.

‘It should show all of us that the continued terrorism
threat in America is real and that federal law
enforcement is going to continue to work as far as we
can to catch these folks before they kill innocent
Americans,” he said

As they allegedly prepared for the attack, the men
watched videos depicting armed assaults of U.S.
military personnel at an undisclosed location,
according to the complaint, which cited a federal
witness who infiltrated the group.

The witness noted that Shnewer “seemed to enjoy
watching the videos and smiled during the viewing.”
Files in his computer contained what appear to be the
last will and testament of two hijackers involved in
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center
and Pentagon, officials said.

Last night in Cherry Hill, a SWAT team and dozens of
federal agents descended at about 9:15 on a quiet
suburban neighborhood to raid Schnewer’s split level
home on East Tampa Avenue, according to neighbors.

The investigators’ jackets and vests identified them
as agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms, the Secret Service and the FBI. They
remained until about midnight and carted away several
boxes of evidence, neighbors said.

A high school friend of Eljir and Shain Duka recalled
them as typical teenagers.

“We hung out in study hall together,” said David
Jonathon, who is 24 and attended Cherry Hill High
School West with the suspects.”We did teenage stuff.
Drinking. Girls. Stuff like that.”

The Duka brothers had been popular in school, said
Jonathon, of Cherry Hill. Shain drove a Cadillac
Escalade SUV. Their family owned a pizzeria.

But when Jonathon saw Shain Duka recently for the
first time in three years, the once fun-loving
teenager was now growing a beard and spoke of
converting to Islam.

“He was trying to get me to go to prayer services with
them,” Jonathon said.

The men are expected to make their initial appearance
this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Camden.
Christie is planning a 2:30 p.m. news conference.

Five of the men are charged with conspiring to kill
officers of the United States Government, which
carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without
parole. The sixth, Abdullahu, is charged with aiding
and abetting the others.

Officials at Fort Dix, meanwhile, are increasing
security. The facility, which has been closed to the
public since 2001, is one of the three main Army posts
responsible for preparing reserve and National Guard
troops for deployment. Nearly 100,000 troops have been
mobilized through Fort Dix in the past five years.

“This is definitely a reminder that we are at war,”
said Carolee Nisbet, a Fort Dix spokeswoman. “We’re
trying to encourage everyone to be more aware of their
surroundings.”
Contributed by Jeff Whelan, Deborah Howlett, Dunstan
McNichol and Wayne Woolley
Updated at 1:10 p.m

see also, http://blog.nj.com/ledgerupdates/Duka%20complaint.pdf

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