Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Terror Plot Probe Grows

California terror plot goes deeper to prison system

Two men accused of robbery and also suspected of planning a terrorist attack alledgedly wanted to go after an Army event, according to KFI News sources.

Now, a third man has been arrested in the case of the uncovered Muslim terror cell in California.

Law enforcement sources say target lists describe the US Army Association's annual ball at the Westin Hotel in Long Beach. Other targets included synagogues, military facilities and recruiting offices in West Los Angeles and the South Bay.

A high-ranking law enforcement source says Gregory Patterson and Lavar Washington planned to shoot up the recruitment center on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and kill as many officers and civilians as possible. A military recruiting center on Santa Monica Blvd. was supposed to be the target of the attack.

Sources say one of the two men charged in the robberies, Levar Washington, bragged to investigators that a number of men were involved in the gun attack plots.

A Pakistani national, Hamad Samana, was arrested last week in connection with the case. Samana is a Liberal Arts major and member of the Cricket Club in Inglewood, California. His connection to the terror attack plots and his affiliations outside of the country or connections to established terror groups, such as Al Qaeda, are not yet known.

The case has opened a new and troubling front for counter-terrorism officials because of a possible connection to a radical form of Islam practiced by a group called Jamiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh, an official said. The group's name translates as The Assembly of Authentic Islam.

While little is known publicly about the JIS, as intelligence officials call it, the group has been around for several years and has a presence at Folsom State Prison, where one of the three men in custody, Levar Haney Washington, 25, served time for assault and robbery, according to law enforcement sources.

Washington and another man, Gregory Vernon Patterson, became suspects in the wider terror investigation after Jihadi literature was discovered in Washington's apartment. The literature outlined efforts to recruit young Muslim African-American men for the "Holy War."

Patterson, who has no criminal record, worked at a duty free gift shop at LAX until early this year.

No one has suggested he was surveying the airport as a possible target, but the fact that he worked at the Tom Bradley International Terminal has raised concerns for counter-terrorism officials because LAX is viewed as one of the state's most likely potential targets.

The two men were originally arrested as suspects in a series of gas station robberies.

KFI News is reporting that the plot may involve up to 13 individuals who are followers of a Muslim inmate inside the prison system in California.

The story is still developing and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is now in charge of the investigation.

KFI News is reporting that the investigation is expanding and the plot "goes much deeper."

Over 100 FBI agents are participating in the investigation.



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