Two men already accused of discussing terror targets with Islamic extremists were indicted Wednesday on charges of undergoing paramilitary training in northwest Georgia and plotting a "violent jihad" against civilian and government targets, including an air base in suburban Atlanta.
The new indictment accuses Syed Ahmed, a 21-year-old Georgia Tech student who was arrested in March, and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee of traveling to Washington to film possible targets, including the U.S. Capitol and the headquarters of the World Bank, and sharing the recordings with another alleged terrorist based in Great Britain.
Both men are U.S. citizens who grew up in the Atlanta area. Ahmed was born in Pakistan; Sadequee was born in Virginia and is of Bangladeshi descent. The new indictment says their motivation for planning the attacks was "defense of Muslims or retaliation for acts committed against Muslims."
The two men allegedly received paramilitary training at an undisclosed location in northwest Georgia in late 2004 and early 2005 and discussed plans for various attacks, including one at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, the indictment said.
"Today's indictment is another important step in this significant terrorism investigation," said U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias.
However, Nahmias stressed that the indictment does not allege that the two "posed an imminent threat to the United States."
Ahmed and Sadequee were previously accused of traveling to Canada last year to meet with Islamic extremists to discuss "strategic locations in the United States suitable for a terrorist strike," including military bases and oil refineries, according to prosecutors.
Ahmed is also accused of traveling to Pakistan in an unsuccessful attempt to train with Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, or Army of the Righteous, an Islamic extremist group that has been active in India for several years. Two U.S. officials have said last week's train bombings in Bombay matched the methods the group has previously used.
An attorney for Ahmed, Jack Martin, and one for Sadequee, Douglas Morris, did not immediately return calls Wednesday seeking comment.