The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested two Iraqi refugees on terror-related charges in the US states of Texas and California. In two separate cases, one of the men has been charged with providing material support to Islamic State (Isis), while the other has been charged with fighting for IS in Syria.
According to US Justice Department, both the accused are Iraqi-born Palestinians. Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, from Houston, Texas, and Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, from Sacramento, California, have been accused of providing false information to immigration officials regarding their ties to IS (Daesh).
Al Hardan has been accused of providing material support and resources, including training, expert advice and assistance to IS and for lying in his US citizenship application. He entered the US in November 2009 and was granted citizenship status in August 2011. Al Hardan could face a 20-year jail term and also a fine of $250,000 (£170,925) if he is convicted.
Al-Jayab has been accused of travelling to Syria to fight for IS. However, Al-Jayab reportedly told US Citizenship and Immigration Services that he travelled to Syria to met his grandmother, while denying charges of his ties to the terror group. Al-Jayab entered the US as an Iraqi refugee in October 2012, the Justice Department said.
Between November 2013 and January 2014, "[Al-Jayab] had allegedly reported on social media that he was in Syria fighting with various terror organisations, including Ansar al-Islam," officials said.
US Attorney Benjamin Wagner has said that while "[Al-Jayab] represented a potential safety threat, there is no indication that he planned any acts of terrorism in this country". Al-Jayab could be jailed for eight years and a fine of $250,000 could be imposed upon him if he is convicted.
It was not clear whether Al Hardan or Al-Jayab had legal representation. Both the accused are scheduled to appear in courts on 8 January.