Three Men Face Terrorism Charges in Ohio
Update: On October 21, 2009, Mohammad Zaki Amawi was sentenced to 20 years in prison, Marwan Othman El-Hindi to 12 years and Wassim I. Mazloum to eight years and four months.
Posted: April 1, 2008
Three Ohio men have been convicted for conspiring to recruit and train terrorists to attack American troops overseas.
On June 13, 2008, a jury in the U.S. District Court in Toledo convicted Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 28, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, 45, and Wassim I. Mazloum, 27, of conspiring to plan attacks to kill or injure U.S. troops in Iraq and other countries and providing material support to terrorists. Amawi and El-Hindi were also found guilty on two counts of distributing information regarding explosives.
The men were originally charged in an indictment filed February 16, 2006, and in a superseding indictment filed the following year. All three men face up to life in prison.
In November 2004, Mazloum, a permanent U.S. resident from Lebanon, and Amawi, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Jordan, met with an undercover informant in Cleveland described in the court documents as "the trainer" to discuss and plan "violent jihad training," according to the indictment. El-Hindi, who is also a naturalized U.S. citizen from Jordan, later met with the informant to discuss traveling to the Middle East to help set up a terrorist training camp.
Following those meetings, the informant allegedly taught the three defendants how to shoot guns and build explosives - they practiced target shooting in Swanton, Ohio. Mazloum's brother, Bilal Mazloum, is charged with making false statements to FBI agents about going to an indoor shooting range with his brother.
Amawi and the trainer also watched several terrorist instructional videos, including one entitled "Martyrdom Operation Vest Preparation." The video, which demonstrated how to assemble and use an explosive suicide vest, was widely circulated online by Younis Tsouli (a.k.a. Irhabi007), who in 2007 was sentenced in Britain to 16 years in prison for incitement to commit acts of terrorism via the internet.
Amawi, El-Hindi and Mazloum also conspired to provide materials to "brothers" overseas, including money, training, explosives, communications equipment, computers and personnel, according to the indictment. Amawi told the informant that he was also trying to obtain chemical explosives to send abroad. In August 2005, Amawi and the trainer brought five laptop computers to Jordan, with the intention of giving them to "mujahideen brothers."
Two cousins from Illinois – Zubair Ahmed and Khaleel Ahmed – were arrested and charged in the same plot and will be tried separately. El-Hindi allegedly introduced the Ahmed cousins to the informant. During this meeting, the cousins allegedly discussed sniper tactics, surveillance techniques and said they were willing to travel abroad to carry out terror attacks.