Four men planned to bomb US government facilities and engage in 'violent jihad', federal officials claim
Officials claim Sohiel Omar Kabir introduced two other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of deceased al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki (above). Photograph: EPA
The Associated Press and Guardian newspaper reported that four Southern California men have been charged on suspicion of plotting to kill Americans in the US and overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said.
The defendants were arrested for plotting to bomb government facilities and public places after federal authorities uncovered their plans to engage in "violent jihad", the FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
According to a federal complaint unsealed on Monday during their initial appearances, Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, introduced two other California men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al-Qaida leader.
The two, Ralph Deleon, 23, and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21, converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content on Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.
Authorities allege Kabir travelled to Afghanistan and communicated with Santana and Deleon so he could arrange for their travel to join him and meet with his contacts in terrorism organisations. They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.