A New Jersey man admitted Thursday to plotting to travel with a group of jihadis to Syria join Islamic State. Alaa Saadeh, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with others to provide material support to ISIS and is still in custody without bail.
“He’s prepared to serve his sentence for the crime he committed, and he deeply regrets any involvement whatsoever,” Saadeh’s attorney, Maria Noto, said outside court. “He has no history of violence, no history of being involved in anything like this.”
Saadeh not only planned his own travel, but admitted to helping pay for and arrange the travel of his brother Nader Saadeh, who was charged along with him. He faces up to 15 years in prison and will be sentenced in February.
“That organization, and others who share its goals, are intent on recruiting people in this country and around the world to join their campaign against our security,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement. “The fight against these kinds of groups is going on around the world, but is also being waged here at home. They are intent on threatening the safety of Americans here and abroad, and we and our law enforcement partners are intent on stopping them.”
When Alaa found out the FBI was suspicious, he told someone when questioned to “just play stupid,” “pretend it never happened” and “keep it honest up to a point.”
The rest of the group that Alaa planned to travel with has been arrested and are being prosecuted.
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