Two Palestinian men who were born in Iraq and came to the United States as refugees have been arrested in connection with terrorism investigations, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab, 23, of Sacramento, Calif., was charged with making a false statement involving international terrorism; and Omar Faraj Saeed al-Hardan, 24, of Houston, was charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State.
Authorities said Hardan moved to this country in 2009 and was granted legal permanent residence status two years later. Jayab came to the United States in October 2012. The two men had been communicating about weapons and training, according to prosecutors.
“Jayab allegedly traveled overseas to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lied to U.S. authorities about his activities,” said John Carlin, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
Prosecutors said Jayab, while living in Arizona and Wisconsin, claimed on social media that he had fought previously in Syria against the regime. He then returned to the war-torn country again in 2013 to fight for Ansar al-Islam, a designated foreign terrorist organization since 2004, authorities said. Jayab later claimed he had traveled to Turkey to visit his grandmother.
Investigators said he left Syria in early 2014 and lived in Sacramento.
Prosecutors also charged Hardan with procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully and making false statements.
According to the Justice Department, Hardan associated with members and sympathizers of the Islamic State in 2014 and falsely represented that he had never received any type of weapons training.
Both men are expected to appear Friday before federal judges. Harden faces 20 years and Jayab eight years in prison and each a $250,000 fine.