updated 8/31/2005 6:42:49 PM ET 2005-08-31T22:42:49

The head of a militant Islamic prison gang and three others have been charged with planning terrorist attacks against National Guard facilities and other targets in the Los Angeles area.

Authorities on Wednesday indicted the men on conspiracy charges of plotting to wage war against the U.S. government through terrorism, kill armed service members and murder foreign officials.

Named in the indictment are Levar Haley Washington, Gregory Vernon Patterson, Hammad Riaz Samana and Kevin James.

James is an inmate at the state prison in Sacramento. Prosecutors claim he founded a radical Muslim prison group and converted Washington, who was serving time on a robbery conviction.

The group was known as JIS (short for Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh), according to the indictment.

Washington pledged his loyalty to James "until death by martyrdom" and sought to establish an extremist cell outside prison, it said.

Washington, Patterson and Samana — who attended the same Inglewood mosque — allegedly conducted surveillance of National Guard facilities, the Israeli Consulate and several synagogues in the Los Angeles area.

Prosecutors contend they hatched a plot to shoot up the targets and financed it by robbing gas stations in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Washington and Patterson were arrested for robbery last month in Torrance.

A federal terrorism probe began after police said they found a possible target list while searching Washington's apartment.

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