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British teen who said he wanted to behead a soldier convicted of terrorism

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LONDON — A British teenager who rapidly became radicalized after converting to Islam was convicted Thursday of planning to behead a soldier.

A jury at London's Central Criminal Court found 19-year-old Brusthom Ziamani guilty of preparing an act of terrorism.

The London-born teenager was raised by Jehovah's Witness parents but converted to Islam early in 2014 and became influenced by the radical group al-Muhajiroun.

Prosecutors said Ziamani was inspired by the two Islamic extremists who murdered soldier Lee Rigby in a London street in 2013.

They said he researched the location of army cadet bases in London and told his girlfriend he planned to "kill soldiers" before he was arrested in August with a 12-inch (30-centimeter) knife and a hammer in his backpack.

Ziamani also posted comments on Facebook saying he was "willing to die in the cause of Allah" and calling for Islamic Sharia law.

Ziamani said he had only made the remarks to fit in with his extremist friends. His lawyer, Naeem Mian, said the teenager should not be convicted for having "undoubtedly repulsive views."

A jury deliberated for a day and a half before finding him guilty.

Ziamani will be sentenced on March 20.

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