AFP - Seven men including six Americans were arrested Monday in the US state of North Carolina on charges they conspired to "engage in violent jihad," the Justice Department said.
The defendants, who include a father and his two sons, were formally indicted by a grand jury last Wednesday and were arrested by federal police on Monday morning, according to a statement from the department.
The men, who range in age from 20 to 39 and include six US citizens and one legal resident, went before a federal judge in Raleigh, North Carolina, where they live, immediately after their arrest.
They face a complex set of charges, with all being accused of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad. They face life sentences if convicted.
"These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far away land but can grow and fester right here at home," said US Attorney George Holding.
The oldest member of the group, Daniel Boyd, is accused of travelling to Afghanistan and Pakistan between 1989 and 1992 for "military-style training in terrorist training camps for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad."
Between 2006 and July 2009, prosecutors allege, Boyd and the other defendants tried to raise funds for terror attacks and underwent assault weapons training.
"The defendants prepared themselves to engage in violent jihad and were willing to die as martyrs," the Justice Department said.
The indictment does not describe any plans to carry out specific attacks inside the United States, but alleges the group did plan to target Israel.
"In June 2007, Daniel Boyd and several other defendants departed the United States for Israel in an effort to engage in violent jihad but ultimately returned to the United States after failing in their efforts," the statement said.
Additionally, another defendant is accused of travelling to Kosovo "to engage in violent jihad," and several of the defendants allegedly undertook fundraising with the goal of sending unnamed other individuals abroad to carry out attacks.