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Home | News | Feds arrest Houston Iraqi Refugee ID’d as Terror Suspect; Abbott applauds, asks again for halt to resettlement
FILE IMAGE: Gov. Abbott from November 2015 proposing reforms against "sanctuary cities" that he wants Texas lawmakers to consider in the 2017 legislative session. / Photo Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Feds arrest Houston Iraqi Refugee ID’d as Terror Suspect; Abbott applauds, asks again for halt to resettlement

Federal agents have arrested a 24-year-old Iraqi man who immigrated to Houston four years ago and charged him as a terror suspect allegedly aligned with the Islamic State according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston.

In a three-count indictment, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, a Palestinian born in Iraq, was charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Division and Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Moskowitz of Homeland Investigations (HSI) in Houston made the announcement.

The Jan. 6 indictment was unsealed Thursday night. Al Hardan will face a federal magistrate Friday at 10 a.m. in Houston.

Al Hardan entered the United States as a refugee on or about Nov. 2, 2009 and was granted legal permanent residence status on or about Aug. 22, 2011. He is one of three suspects arrested nationwide.

The indictment states Al Hardan lied to immigration authorities about weapons training he had received, had contact with the Islamic State and provided support to it.

The news of the arrests first surfaced in California where another of the three was arrested. The third man was arrested in Milwaukee, according to the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

Calls for increased scrutiny of potential links between refugees in the country and terrorist organizations has heightened since two ISIS supporters gunned down 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.

“I applaud the FBI for today’s arrest of this dangerous subject,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “I once again urge the President to halt the resettlement of these refugees in the United States until there is an effective vetting process that will ensure refugees do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans.”

The California suspect, identified as Aws Mohamed Younis Al-Jayab, was charged with lying to immigration authorities about his ties to the Islamic State and travel to Syria. He is scheduled to appear in federal court there on Friday.

Last month, Texas filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration attempting to stop the placement of Syrian refugees. A temporary restraining order was also filed to block their entry into the Lone Star State, but it was later withdrawn.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, pol itics, government and statewide issues.

About The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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