"Jihad Jane": American Colleen LaRose Allegedly Used Web to Recruit Terrorists

Colleen LaRose (Credit: AP/SITE Intelligence Group)
Colleen LaRose (Credit: AP/SITE Intelligence Group)
PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) She's an American convert to Islam, who allegedly called herself Jihad Jane online. And authorities say Pennsylvania woman Colleen LaRose expressed a willingness to become a martyr on behalf of all Muslims.

A federal indictment says the 46-year-old used the Internet to recruit jihadist fighters and help terrorists overseas - and that she even agreed to move to Europe to try to kill a Swede. An official says she had targeted a Swedish cartoonist who depicted Mohammed with the body of a dog.

LaRose is "one of only a few such cases nationwide in which females have been charged with terrorism violations," said U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Dean Boyd.

LaRose, of Pennsburg, Pa., has been held without bail since her Oct. 15 arrest in Philadelphia.

Authorities said the case shows how terror groups are looking to recruit Americans to carry out their goals.

LaRose had targeted Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks and had online discussions about her plans with at least one of several suspects apprehended over that plot Tuesday in Ireland, according to a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman wouldn't confirm the case is related to Vilks, who angered Muslims by depicting the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog.

The indictment charges that LaRose, who also used the name Fatima LaRose online, agreed to kill the target on orders from the unnamed terrorists she met online, and traveled to Europe in August to do so. Court documents don't say whether the person was killed, but LaRose was not charged with murder.

LaRose indicated in her online conversations that she thought her blond hair and blue eyes would help her move freely in Sweden to carry out the attack, the indictment said.

Killing the target would be her goal "till I achieve it or die trying," she wrote a south Asian suspect in March 2009, according to the indictment.

LaRose called herself Jihad Jane in a YouTube video in which she said she was "desperate to do something somehow to help" ease the suffering of Muslims, the indictment said. According to the 11-page document, she agreed to obtain residency in a European country and marry one of the terrorists to enable him to live there.

She moved to Europe in August 2009 with a U.S. passport stolen from a male friend and intended to give it to one of her "brothers," the indictment said. She hoped to "live and train with jihadists and to find and kill" the targeted artist, it said.

LaRose had an initial court appearance on Oct. 16 but didn't enter a plea. No further court dates have been set.

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