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Suburban woman accused of using net to recruit terrorists

Feds cuff JihadJane

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A suburban Pennsylvania woman who went by the online alias JihadJane used the internet to recruit Islamic terrorists and to plot the assassination of a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Mohammed, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Colleen R LaRose was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country and related charges, according to an indictment filed in US District Court in Pennsylvania. She has been detained since October, but the charges were only made public on Tuesday, following the arrests of others.

According to prosecutors, LaRose began a series on online correspondences with unindicted co-conspirators after posting a comment on YouTube under the alias JihadJane that stated she was "desperate to do something somehow to help" Muslim people who were suffering. She said her blond hair and blue eyes were assets that would allow her to "blend in with many people".

One conspirator directed LaRose to travel to Sweden, hunt down a resident there and to kill him, the indictment claims. Her answer: "I will make this my goal till i achieve it or die trying."

The identity of the Swedish resident was not revealed in court documents, but numerous published reports, citing people familiar with the investigation, said it was Lars Vilks, a cartoonist who ignited outrage in the Muslim world after depicting Muhammed with the body of a dog.

LaRose, also known as Fatima LaRose, allegedly corresponded with at least five conspirators to recruit men and women with the ability to travel in the US and Europe. In March 2009, she agreed to live in Sweden and marry one of the conspirators so he could live in Europe.

If convicted, LaRose faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of $1m. ®

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