Seventh Man Charged in Lackawanna “Sleeper” Cell

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A seventh man has been charged with participating in a terrorist “sleeper” cell based in upstate New York. An FBI criminal complaint says he attended an al-Qaida training camp run by Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks, the Associated Press reports.

Jaber Elbaneh, 36, was accused of conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. The FBI said he is believed to be abroad. Elbaneh is from the Buffalo suburb of Lackawanna. Six other men – dubbed the “Lackawanna Six” – have already pleaded guilty in the case and are cooperating with authorities.

Prosecutors say members of the Lackawanna cell attended the al-Farooq camp in Afghanistan in the summer of 2001. Some of those who went say they were trained in assault weapons and explosives, and that they met with bin Laden.

Defense lawyers reject the portrayal of the group as a sleeper cell. They said the men were scared into silence by what they had seen and heard at the camp, and frightened even more after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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