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Florida man pleads not guilty in alleged terror plot

(Reuters) - A 19-year-old Florida man pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of conspiring to travel to the Middle East to join an al Qaeda-affiliated group and receive military training as part of a holy war, or jihad.

Shelton Thomas Bell faces up to 30 years in federal prison if convicted on two counts of conspiring and attempting to provide material to support terrorists.

According to the indictment in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Bell devised a plan to travel to Yemen to join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the United States regards as one of the most dangerous militant groups in the Middle East.

The indictment alleges that between May and September 2012, Bell and others engaged in physical, firearms and other training in preparation for jihad.

Bell allegedly made video and audio recordings designed to be used to recruit others. In September 2012, Bell traveled to Amman, Jordan in effort to travel to Yemen.

Bell is being held at the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville on $200,000 bail. He also faces separate state charges of grand theft and fraud.

(Reporting By David Adams; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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