UPDATE: 9:03 p.m. EDT -- The FBI said Thursday federal agents had arrested a man in Texas for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Omar Al Hardan, 24, also faces other immigration related charges.
Omar Al Hardan, 24, is charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIL, as well as other immigration related charges #HouNews
— FBI Houston (@FBIHouston) January 8, 2016
UPDATE: 8:44 p.m. EDT -- At least two Iraqi immigrants with ties to the Islamic State group were arrested this week by federal agents. One suspect was arrested in Sacramento, California for lying to immigration authorities over his ties to ISIS and travel to Syria. Another immigrant was arrested in Houston for charges related to plotting a terror attack, according to local media reports.
In California, Aws Mohamed Younis Al-Jayab is named in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in Sacramento. He was scheduled to appear in federal court on Friday at 2 p.m.
“Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab allegedly traveled overseas to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lied to U.S. authorities about his activities,” Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin said in a statement. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is protecting the nation from terrorism, and we will continue to hold accountable those who seek to join or aid the cause of terrorism, whether at home or abroad.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Thursday that an Iraqi immigrant had been arrested on similar charges. It was unclear if the incidents were related.
An Iraqi refugee with ties to the Islamic State group was arrested Thursday under suspicion of allegedly plotting a terror attack in Houston. The arrest was part of a larger terror crackdown that resulted in similar arrests in California and Wisconsin. All of the suspects were U.S. residents trying to provide assistance to Islamic State supporters, the Sacramento Bee reported.
"I applaud the FBI for today's arrest of this dangerous subject. However, this is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the U.S. from countries substantially controlled by terrorists," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. "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."
— Julie Fine (@JulieFineNBC5) January 7, 2016
Abbott, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration's plan to resettle Syrian refugees, has said he would not accept Syrian refugees because of a potential for terrorism. Abbott wrote a letter to President Barack Obama on Nov. 16, 2015, that claimed the threat posed to Texas by ISIS was "very real." "ISIS claimed credit last May when two terrorist gunmen launched an attack in Garland, Texas. Less than two weeks later, the FBI arrested an Iraqi-born man in North Texas and charged him with lying to federal agents about traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS," he explained.
The arrests this week were not made public, but the investigation became known after a rare closed hearing was conducted Thursday afternoon in federal court in Sacramento with U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan. California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office did not immediately respond to questions about the arrests, local media reported. In December, ISIS supporters killed 14 people in a mass shooting in San Bernardino.
BREAKING NEWS: US Attorneys Office confirms Terror-related arrest in Sacramento..says "there is no public safety risk" @CBSSacramento ON NOW
— Tony Lopez (@tlomedia) January 8, 2016