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US teen terrorism suspect pleads not guilty

August 12, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) — A 19-year-old U.S. man charged with conspiring to aid al-Qaida and traveling to the Middle East to join terrorist groups has pleaded not guilty.

Shelton Thomas Bell entered pleas Monday to two federal counts of trying to provide material support to terrorists.

An indictment shows Bell planned to join Ansar Al-Sharia, which is an alias for al-Qaida in the Middle East. The group has taken responsibility for attacks on Yemeni forces, including a suicide bombing during a parade in May 2012 that killed more than 100 soldiers.

Investigators say Bell participated in physical, firearm and other training in Florida to prepare for armed conflict.

Bell also is charged with soliciting others to travel overseas with him to train.

In September 2012, Bell and a juvenile went to Amman, Jordan, and made contact with someone who investigators said could help them travel to Yemen to participate in violent jihad, according to the indictment.

The indictment does not say whether Bell ever entered Yemen.