COPENHAGEN - A Danish court sentenced four men to prison terms of 12 years on Monday for plotting a gun attack on a Danish newspaper in revenge for its publication in 2005 of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

The court in Glostrup, near Copenhagen, sentenced the men, one Tunisian and three Swedish citizens of Arab origin, for their part in what experts say is the most serious terrorist plot ever uncovered in Denmark.

It also ordered them to be expelled from Denmark after they serve their sentences and to pay the trial costs.

The men, who were arrested in a joint Danish-Swedish police operation at the end of 2010, were found guilty on the main charge of terrorism but were acquitted on two charges of weapons possession for technical reasons, court officials said.

Judge Katrine Eriksen told the court that the target of the planned attack was the offices of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which first published the dozen cartoons seven years ago and that the goal was to kill as many people as possible there.

"The accused...are guilty of terrorism, Eriksen said. "(They) agreed and prepared acts to kill people."

Convicted were Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, a Tunisian citizen, Munir Awad a Swedish citizen born in Lebanon, Omar Abdalla Aboelazm, a Swedish citizen born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Egyptian father, and Sahbi Ben Mohamed Zalouti, a Swedish citizen of Tunisian origin.

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