Iraqi Refugee Who Wanted To Bomb Houston Malls For ISIS Is Sentenced

"Al Hardan's actions were treacherous and completely antithetical to the freedoms we as U.S. citizens value."

An Obama-era refugee who prosecutors say wanted to bomb Texas malls was sentenced in a Houston federal court this week for trying to help ISIS.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 25, pled guilty in October 2016 to "attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes sentenced Al Hardan to 16 years in prison on Monday, and following his release, he will be on "supervised release for the rest of his life."

Key facts from the DOJ’s report:

  • Al Hardan entered the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee in 2009 and was granted legal permanent residence status in 2011.
  • Federal agents began investigating him in 2013 after he started communicating with a man in California who had gone to Syria to fight for Al-Nusrah.
  • Al Hardan developed a relationship with a confidential informant (CI) in 2014 with whom he discussed traveling overseas to support ISIS.
  • Al Hardan told the CI that he wanted to learn how to build bombs and had already started to learn how to make remote detonators from material he found online.
  • Al Hardan pledged allegiance to ISIS on November 5, 2014.
  • After committing to ISIS, Al Hardan and the CI participated in weapons training with an AK-47.

"Any person who provides material support to a foreign terrorist organization will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez said. "Al Hardan’s actions were treacherous and completely antithetical to the freedoms we as U.S. citizens value. The sentence imposed today reflects the Department of Justice’s resolve to seek out and punish all violators who would give aid and comfort to international terrorists."

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