Chicago Man Pleads Not Guilty to Recruiting Terrorists to Attack U.S. Troops

A Chicago man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal charges that he plotted to recruit and train terrorists to attack U.S. and allied troops.

Khaleel Ahmed is charged with conspiring with his cousin and three Ohio men between June 2004 and February 2006 to kill or maim Americans overseas, including those in Iraq.

Ahmed, 26, and his cousin Zubair A. Ahmed, 27, were arrested last month; Zubair Ahmed has yet to enter a plea. Three Toledo-area men — Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, and Wassim I. Mazloum — were charged in the same case early last year and have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege the conspiracy included finding recruits to commit terrorist acts and seeking out sites for training in firearms, hand-to-hand combat and the use of explosives. The men also allegedly agreed to raise funds for training and download Internet information on improvised explosive devices, according to the indictment.

The five face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted. All are U.S. citizens except Mazloum, who came to the U.S. legally from Lebanon.

Prosecutors said that in 2004 the Ahmed cousins met with El-Hindi and a former U.S. military man who federal prosecutors say helped foil the plot.

Khaleel Ahmed's attorney, Brian Sieve, said after the hearing that he has not received any additional information from the government about why his client was charged.

Ahmed, through his attorney, asked to be released on electronic monitoring and home confinement because he has no prior convictions. A hearing on the request was set for April 9.