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Uzbek citizen arrested in Idaho, accused of supporting militants

(Reuters) - U.S. officials charged an Uzbek citizen in Idaho with providing bomb-making knowledge and other support to an Islamist militant group, knowing that it would be used in an attack, authorities said on Thursday.

Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, a national of Uzbekistan living legally in Idaho, was arrested in Boise and faces a three-count grand jury indictment in Idaho and a single-count indictment in Utah, prosecutors said.

They said Kurbanov provided information and money to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which the United States has designated as a foreign terrorist organization. The group supports establishing strict Islamic rule in Uzbekistan.

Authorities said Kurbanov's activities were closely monitored and any potential threat had been contained.

The indictment alleges that Kurbanov had provided support and resources to the group since August 2012 and that he knew this could be used to prepare for and carry out an attack using a weapon of mass destruction. He could face up to 15 years in prison on each of those two charges.

Kurbanov was also charged with possessing a hand grenade, with a fuse as well as aluminum powder, potassium nitrate and sulfur, which could be used to create an improvised bomb. That charge calls for up to 10 years in prison.

In Utah, prosecutors said Kurbanov had showed Internet videos, gave instructional shopping trips, and detailed in writing where to find components and how to build bombs.

Kurbanov intended the teachings be used for training in bombings of public transportation systems, infrastructure or other buildings, prosecutors said. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the Utah charge.

Kurbanov is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boise on Friday, prosecutors said, adding that he would be transferred to Utah after the Idaho prosecution is concluded.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Christopher Wilson)

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