MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - Six men from the former Yugoslavia were arrested on charges they plotted to attack the Fort Dix Army base and "kill as many soldiers as possible," federal authorities said Tuesday.
The suspects were described as "Islamic radicals," said U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Greg Reinert.
They were scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Camden later Tuesday to face charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. servicemen, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey. Five of them lived in Cherry Hill, he said.
"They were planning an attack on Fort Dix in which they would kill as many soldiers as possible," Drewniak said.
A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because documents in the case remain sealed, said the attack was stopped in the planning stages.
Authorities believe the men trained in the Poconos for the attack and also conducted surveillance at other area military institutions, including Fort Monmouth, the official said. The official said that the men had lived in the United States for some time.
The six were arrested trying to buy automatic weapons in a sale set-up by law enforcement authorities, the official said.
State Police Capt. Al Della Fave said Tuesday that the investigation had been in the works for about a year. The arrests were first reported by WNBC-TV in New York.
Jerri Williams, spokeswoman for the FBI in Philadelphia, said U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie and J.P. Weis, special agent in charge of the FBI in Philadelphia, would release further information later Thursday.
Five of suspects lived in Cherry Hill, about 10 miles east of Philadelphia and 20 miles southwest of Fort Dix, Drewniak said.
Fort Dix is used to train soldiers, particularly reservists. In 1999, it sheltered more than 4,000 ethnic Albanian refugees during the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.
After that war, refugees were allowed to return to the U.N.-run province of Kosovo in Serbia or to seek permanent residency in the United States. The U.N. Security Council is considering whether to approve a plan to grant Kosovo independence from Serbia under the supervision of the European Union and the United States.