|6 held on terror conspiracy charges in N.J.|
Men from ex-Yugoslavia allegedly plotted to attack Fort Dix military base
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MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - Six men were arrested early Tuesday on charges they plotted to attack the Fort Dix Army base and "kill as many soldiers as possible," federal authorities said.
The men are all from the former Yugoslavia, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey. Five of them lived in Cherry Hill, he said.
Drewniak said the six were scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Camden later Tuesday to face charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. servicemen.
The arrests were first reported by WNBC's Jonathan Dienst. WNBC is the flagship NBC television station for the New York tri-state area.
Investigators told WNBC that the group discussed a number of possible targets, including the the Dover Air base, Fort Monmouth and Coast Guard stations, but that they concluded the best target was Fort Dix.
Fort Dix, which is run in part by the U.S. Army, is a reserve training center but active units also take part in training at the base, some of which is focused on counter-terrorism.
Investigators told NBC’s Pete Williams that the plot was in the planning stages but was not imminent.
Acting on a tip, and with the help of an informant, the men were placed under surveillance. Investigators say some of the group's members -- all men and all believed to be Islamic radicals -- went to the Poconos over the past several months to practice firing guns.
Intelligence officials told NBC News' Robert Windrem that they do not believe the plot was directed by al-Qaida because it did not match the key al-Qaida tenet: spectacular multiple simultaneous attacks.
However, the idea that the men were using al-Qaida training films and following al-Qaida goals shows that there is a large number of people who can create such plots inspired by the terrorist organization, the officials said.
NBC News' Pete Williams and Robert Windrem contributed to this report.