Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan is an Iraqi citizen of Palestinian descent and a suspected domestic terrorist. Hardan entered the United States as a refugee in November 2009.Manny Fernandez, “Refugee Tried to Assist Islamic State, U.S. Says,” New York Times, January 8, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/09/us/refugee-appears-in-houston-court-on-terror-related-charges.html. In January 2016, the then-24-year-old was arrested on charges of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully, and making false statements.“Texas Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL,” United States Department of Justice, January 7, 2016, http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/texas-man-charged-attempting-provide-material-support-isil.

It was later revealed that Hardan had pledged allegiance to ISIS and planned to blow up shopping malls in Houston, Texas.“Houston Terror Suspect Reportedly Wanted to Blow Up Galleria, Sharpstown Mall,” ABC13, January 13, 2016, http://abc13.com/news/houston-terror-suspect-reportedly-planned-attacks-at-2-houston-malls/1157091/.

In May 2014, while living in Houston, Texas, Hardan began using his knowledge of weaponry—specifically of machine guns—to aid ISIS by offering to provide training over the Internet.“Texas Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL,” United States Department of Justice, January 7, 2016, http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/texas-man-charged-attempting-provide-material-support-isil. He applied to become a naturalized U.S. citizen a few months later in August 2014.Manny Fernandez, “Refugee Tried to Assist Islamic State, U.S. Says,” New York Times, January 8, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/09/us/refugee-appears-in-houston-court-on-terror-related-charges.html.

In 2013, Hardan communicated over social media with another refugee in California, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab. The two reportedly discussed travel to Syria. Al-Jayab spoke to Hardan about weapons training and told him he had fought against Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers.“FBI: Refugees used social media to plan fight in Syria,” KCRA 3, January 8, 2016, http://www.kcra.com/news/local-news/news-sacramento/family-suspect-in-terror-case-went-to-american-river-college/37335406. Al-Jayab was arrested and charged on January 7, 2016, with making a false statement involving international terrorism.Shawn Brouwer, “Sacramento man indicted on terrorism-related charge,” KCRA ABC, January 14, 2016, http://www.kcra.com/news/local-news/news-sacramento/sacramento-man-indicted-on-terrorismrelated-charge/37444394.

In a bond hearing on January 13, 2016, federal investigators testified that Hardan had plotted to use a remote bomb to blow up the Galleria and Sharpstown Mall in Houston. According to investigators, Hardan had told a government informant that when attacking the malls, he planned to place a bomb in a trash can and use a cellphone to detonate the explosive. He also told the informant that he sought to sneak into the Grand Prairie military base in Texas and blow up Humvees.“Houston Terror Suspect Reportedly Wanted to Blow Up Galleria, Sharpstown Mall,” ABC13, January 13, 2016, http://abc13.com/news/houston-terror-suspect-reportedly-planned-attacks-at-2-houston-malls/1157091/. At the bond hearing, investigators provided evidence including the cell phones Hardan had used, as well as a document in which he pledged allegiance to ISIS.“Houston Terror Suspect Reportedly Wanted to Blow Up Galleria, Sharpstown Mall,” ABC13, January 13, 2016, http://abc13.com/news/houston-terror-suspect-reportedly-planned-attacks-at-2-houston-malls/1157091/. Authorities deemed Hardan a flight risk and ordered him to remain in jail until his detention hearing. Later that month, Hardan pled not guilty to all three charges.Juan A. Lozano, “Federal agent says Iraqi refugee wanted to bomb Texas malls,” Dallas Morning News, January 14, 2016,http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20160114-federal-agent-says-iraqi-refugee-wanted-to-bomb-texas-malls.ece.

On October 17, 2016, Hardan pled guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS. On December 18, 2017, he was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison following his conviction of attempting to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.“Iraqi Refugee Sentenced for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL,” United States Department of Justice, December 18, 2017, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdtx/pr/iraqi-refugee-sentenced-attempting-provide-material-support-isil.

Extremist entity
ISIS
Type(s) of Organization:
Insurgent, territory-controlling, religious, terrorist, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Salafist, takfiri
Position(s):
Foreign fighter

ISIS is a violent jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. The group has declared wilayas (provinces) in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.

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