AMMAN, Jordan – A Jordanian military court convicted eight militants Wednesday of plotting to kill U.S. troops in Iraq and Americans and Israelis in Jordan.
The court handed down sentences of between two and 10 years' imprisonment.
The alleged mastermind of the plot, Ahmad Shabaneh, 37, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. Two other defendants, who were convicted in absentia as they are at large, received the same sentence.
The remaining five defendants received prison terms from two years to 7 and 1/2 years.
The court found that in 2003 Shabaneh had formed a militant group called "Al-Taa'efa al-Mansourah," or the Victorious Sect, which plotted to send militants to Iraq to attack U.S. forces. It also planned to attack U.S. soldiers engaged in training Iraqi police recruits at a desert camp in Jordan.
The prosecution did not say if the group was linked to Al Qaeda, but the indictment said Shabaneh was influenced by the ideology of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — the Jordanian-born leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Iraq in June.
The indictment said Shabaneh had distributed leaflets and computer discs bearing quotations of al-Zarqawi at mosques in Jordan.
The prosecution also said some members of the group planned to attack Israelis in Jordan, but it did not specify whether they were tourists or diplomats.
The verdict can be appealed.