CHICAGO – Two Chicago-area cousins were arrested Wednesday on charges of conspiring to commit terrorist acts against Americans overseas, including U.S. military forces serving in Iraq.
Zubair A. Ahmed, 27, of suburban North Chicago, and Khaleel Ahmed, 26, of Chicago, were arrested after a grand jury in Cleveland returned an indictment charging them and three other men who had already been facing terrorism charges.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy included finding fresh recruits to wage "violent jihad" against Americans and locating sites for training them in the use of firearms, explosives and hand-to-hand combat.
In early July 2004, the two cousins, who are both American citizens, traveled to Cleveland to meet with a trainer and discuss possible training in the use of weapons, according to the indictment.
The indictment was announced by the U.S. attorney's office in Cleveland and distributed to reporters by federal prosecutors in Chicago.
The newly returned superseding indictment added more charges against them and added the names of the two Ahmeds to the list of defendants.
The names of attorneys for the two cousins were not learned immediately.
The Ahmeds were to appear before a federal magistrate judge in Chicago for their initial appearance in court on Wednesday and then be sent to Cleveland for arraignment, prosecutors here said.
Prosecutors in Cleveland said that in addition a separate indictment was returned charging Bilal Mazloum, 22, of Sylvania, Ohio — brother of Wassim I. Mazloum — with making a false statement to federal agents.
Prosecutors said an additional indictment was returned charging El-Hindi and Ashraf Ziam, 22, of Ottawa Hills, Ohio, with conspiring to defraud the government, theft of government funds and wire fraud, all involving a $40,000 federal grant they received in 2002.