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N.J. man charged with plotting to help ISIS, telling witness to "play dumb"

NEWARK, N.J. -- FBI agents on Monday arrested another New Jersey man who is accused of plotting to support the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Authorities charged Alaa Saadeh, 23, of West New York, with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic militant organization and witness tampering. They said he tried to persuade a witness to lie to the FBI.

Saadeh made his initial appearance in federal court and was held without bail. Sporting a beard and glasses, Alaa Saadeh entered U.S. District Court in Newark on Monday shackled and wearing a red T-shirt and black shorts.

FBI: Terror suspect attacked agent

The FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force have been investigating several people in New York and New Jersey amid heightened concerns of terrorist attacks surrounding the July Fourth holiday. Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, was charged earlier this month with conspiring to join the Islamic State group.

According to the criminal complaint released Monday, a Rutherford man who is Saadeh's brother traveled to the Middle East in May to join the group and was arrested in Jordan. Saadeh's credit card was used to buy his brother's plane ticket, and Saadeh was aware of his plans to join ISIS, the complaint alleges.

The complaint alleges that Topaz had numerous meetings and exchanged text messages and phone calls with Saadeh, his brother and 20-year-old Munther Omar Saleh, a New York City college student who was arrested this month and charged with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Prosecutors claimed Saadeh told another individual that he suspected that Saleh or Topaz had "snitched" on his brother and caused his arrest overseas, and that, if true, Saadeh thought he would have to "kill someone."

In a June 13 conversation secretly recorded by an informant, Saadeh allegedly spoke of his knowledge of his brother's plans. He also allegedly told the person what to do if the FBI began asking questions.

"You just play dumb," Saadeh said, according to the complaint. "Like you just really don't know. That all you know is that he was going to see his parents."

The complaint says Saadeh's parents were deported from the U.S. after they were convicted of crimes several years ago but didn't specify what those crimes were.

The arrest is the latest in a string of ISIS-related arrests on American soil. Last week, a 19-year-old North Carolina man was charged, accused of planning a killing spree in the U.S. to show his support for ISIS.