|An informant said Abdul-Latif was planning an attack to retaliate for alleged crimes by US troops in Afghanistan
Two men have been arrested and charged with plotting to attack a military centre for enlistees in Seattle with grenades and machine guns, the US Justice Department has said.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, also known as Joseph A Davis of Seattle and Walli Mujahidh, also known as Frederick Domingue Jr, of Los Angeles were arrested on Wednesday on a seven-count complaint accusing them of conspiracy to murder federal officers and employees.
The pair appeared in a Seattle federal court on Thursday to hear the charges against them. If convicted, the two could face life in prison.
The US government says agents became aware of the alleged plot through an individual the men tried to recruit as a participant, who monitored the plot, and that the weapons the men purchased had been rendered inoperable.
The individual, who has a criminal record, became a paid confidential informant in an undercover operation to
seize the two men, according to prosecutors.
Abdul-Latif, 33, mentioned the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, where an army major is accused of killing 13 people, saying that "if one person could kill so many people, three attackers could kill many more," the informant told authorities, according to the criminal complaint.
The planned attack was to retaliate for alleged crimes by US soldiers in Afghanistan, Abdul-Latif told the
informant, according to an FBI affidavit.
"Abdul-Latif explained that, in his view, murdering American soldiers was justifiable," the affidavit said.
After being arrested, Mujahidh, 32, waived his legal rights and told FBI agents that the plot was to prevent US
military personnel from going to Islamic lands and killing Muslims, the affidavit said.
Video and audio recordings of some of the conversations and meetings were made during the undercover operation.
'Plan of attack'
Abdul-Latif developed an extensive plan of attack on the military centre, three miles south of central Seattle, and noted he wanted to attack people in the military, not civilians, the complaint said.
He expressed little concern about dying in the planned assault, it added.
The military centre's security office learnt about the plot about one week ago, Anthony Wright, US Army Corps of Engineers Colonel, said.
"Only a very few number of people were aware of this. There are reports of credible threats that we get, many of which don't ever manifest as we continue to develop and explore them," he said.
"We evaluate them, make informed decisions, about what we think has happened, and work with that."
US authorities have been increasingly worried about fighters inspired by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
launching attacks in the US, particularly individuals or small groups that are particularly difficult to track.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies