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Two convicted of al Qaida bomb plot

Two men accused of plotting to attack the Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed have been found guilty in Norway in the country's first convictions under anti-terror laws.

The Oslo court sentenced ringleader Mikael Davud to seven years in prison and co-defendant Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak to three and a half years.

Judge Oddmund Svarteberg said the court found that Davud "planned the attack together with al Qaida".

A third defendant, David Jakobsen, was cleared of terror charges but convicted of helping the others acquire explosives. Jakobsen, who helped police in the investigation, was sentenced to four months.

Investigators say the plot was linked to the same al Qaida planners behind thwarted attacks against the New York subway system and a British shopping mall in 2009. The case was Norway's most high-profile terror investigation until last July, when a right-wing extremist killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting massacre.

The three men, who were arrested in July 2010, made some admissions but pleaded innocent to terror conspiracy charges and rejected any links to al Qaida.

During the trial Davud denied he was taking orders from al Qaida, saying he was planning a solo raid against the Chinese Embassy in Oslo. He said he wanted revenge for Beijing's oppression of Uighurs, a Muslim minority in western China.

Davud, a Norwegian citizen, also said his co-defendants helped him acquire bomb-making ingredients but did not know he was planning an attack.

Prosecutors said the Norwegian cell first wanted to attack Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, whose 12 cartoons of Mohammed sparked furious protests in Muslim countries in 2006, and then changed plans to seek to murder one of the cartoonists instead.

The men had been under surveillance for more than a year when authorities moved to arrest them in July 2010. Norwegian investigators, who worked with their US counterparts, said the defendants were building a bomb in a basement laboratory in Oslo.

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