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Update: Iraqi-Born Man In Houston Charged With Attempting To Support ISIS

Omar Al Hardan made his first court appearance Friday at the U.S. District Court in Houston.

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Ken Magidson speaks to reporters
U.S. Attorney Ken Magidson says Omar Al Hardan is a flight risk.

Twenty-four-year-old Omar Al Hardan appeared in the Houston courtroom wearing khaki pants and a gray plaid shirt. Speaking through an interpreter, he told the judge he understands the charges against him.

Al Hardan faces a three-count indictment for attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS.

U.S. Attorney Ken Magidson says authorities made the arrest before there was any threat to the public.

"We work closely with the FBI to ensure that whenever we feel that the public safety is in jeopardy, we're going to take action," Magidson says. "Action was taken in this case."

Court records show 23-year-old Mohammed Al-Jayab of Sacramento has been affiliated with the Islamic State. He communicated with Al Hardan in 2013, encouraging him to join the civil war against the Syrian government and promising him weapons training.

Al Hardan came to the U.S. in 2009 as an Iraqi refugee and currently resides in Houston with his wife and child.

The government is asking for him to be held without bail while he awaits trial.

Magidson says they'll try to prove in court that Al Hardan is a flight risk and a danger to the community.

"Obviously we're going to be taking steps that if he's convicted and he's not a citizen of the United States, steps will be taken to deport him," he says.

Al Hardan has been appointed a public defender, and a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. The public defender's office has not returned a call seeking comment.

 

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