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U.S. federal prosecutors have charged a Massachusetts man with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, alleging he and co-conspirators traveled to the Middle East seeking training, discussed attacking a shopping center, and watched and distributed "jihadi" videos
Tarek Mehanna, 27, from Sudbury, Massachusetts, had been previously indicted in January 2009 for making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other officials in connection with a terrorism investigation, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release on Wednesday.
Mehanna, 26, who was living in a sprawling house in Sudbury with his parents, is charged with lying to the FBI in December 2006 when questioned about the whereabouts and activities of Daniel J. Maldonado, a former Methuen resident who was suspected of training at an Al Qaeda terrorist camp to overthrow the Somali government.
Investigators say Mehanna conspired with others over a seven-year period between 2001 and 2008 plotting to "kill, kidnap, maim or injure" people in foreign countries and to kill prominent U.S. politicians.
He and two others allegedly travelled to the Middle East in 2004 to look for military-type training for attacks on U.S. interests.
Prosecutors say Mehanna had "multiple conversations about obtaining automatic weapons and randomly shooting people at a shopping mall."
"The conversations went so far as to discuss the logistics of a mall attack including coordination, weapons needed and the possibility of attacking emergency responders," investigators said in a statement.
The plan was scrapped because the men could not get the weapons.WBZTV
Mehanna was arrested on Saturday 8th November 2008, at Logan International Airport, as he was about to board a flight to start a new job in a hospital in Saudi Arabia.
Mehanna had been the subject of harassment from the FBI for some time, pressuring him to become an informant for the government or else charges would be laid against him.