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Florida terrorism suspect pleads not guilty

August 12, 2013

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

Shelton Thomas Bell entered not guilty 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 region. The group has taken responsibility for attacks on Yemeni forces, including a suicide bombing during a parade in May 2012. That attack killed more than 100 Yemeni 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.

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