Five Arab-Americans, of Yemeni descent, charged on Saturday with operating an active cell of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network in western New York had received intense weapons training in Afghanistan during the summer of 2001 and been sent back to the United States to await the order for an attack, federal law enforcement officials said Saturday, according to The New York Times.
The suspects, all of them born in the United States were arraigned Saturday in Buffalo on federal charges of providing "material support" to terrorists.
According to federal officials, the arrests of these men in a Buffalo suburb suggested that, for the first time since the September 11 attacks on US cities, the Justice Department might have detected an active Al Qaeda terrorist cell in the United States.
However, the Justice Department acknowledged, that it had no evidence to suggest that any attack by the group was imminent. The government did not contend Saturday that the men had weapons in their possession or that they had taken part in any violent act.
"We have not seen any plans of an imminent attack in western New York or elsewhere in the United States," FBI director, Robert S. Mueller III, said in announcing the charges. However, the Intelligence chief added, "We do not fully know the intentions of those who are charged today." (Albawaba.com)