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Man With Alleged Ties To Terrorist Group Arrested At O’Hare

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UPDATED 01/23/12 12:20 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Colorado man was arrested at O’Hare International Airport over the weekend, on charges that he planned to fight on behalf of a terrorist group in Uzbekistan.

Jamshid Muhtorov, 35, who also goes by the names Abumumin Turkistony and Abu Mumin, is accused of providing and trying to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group.

READ THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

Muhtorov, who lives in Aurora, Colo., is a refugee from the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says he planned to travel overseas and fight on behalf of the Islamic Jihad Union, which has been designated by the federal government as a terrorist group.

The Pakistan-based IJU is anti-western, and wants to replace the current secular regime in Uzbekistan with an Islamic theocracy, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The group is blamed for a suicide bomb attack in April 2004 on a popular bazaar and police officers at several roadway checkpoints, in which 14 innocent people and 33 suspected terrorists died.

The IJU is also responsible for simultaneous suicide bombings targeting the U.S. and Israeli embassies, and the Uzbekistani Prosecutor General’s Office in the Uzbekistani capital of Tashkent, in July 2004, prosecutors said.

In September 2007, three IJU operatives were caught by German authorities with the ingredients for 1,200 pounds of TNT.

The group also claimed responsibility for attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, including a March 2008 suicide attack on a U.S. military post, prosecutors said.

The FBI has been investigating Muhtorov based on communications with the Web site Sodiqlar.com, which is affiliated with and is believed to be run by the IJU, prosecutors said.

In an e-mail to the administrator of the Web site, Muhtorov allegedly swore allegiance to the group, and said he was “ready for any task, even with the risk of dying,” prosecutors said.

He is not accused of plotting any attacks within the United States.

If convicted, Muhtorov faces 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

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