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Iraqi Refugees Arrested In Sacramento, Houston As Part Of Terror Probe

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- Two Iraqi refugees have been arrested in Sacramento and Houston as part of an investigation into terrorist activities, authorities said.

The suspect arrested in Sacramento was identified in court documents as 23-year-old Sacramento resident Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, an Iraqi national who emigrated from Syria to the U.S. as a refugee in October 2012.

The criminal complaint says Al-Jayab is believed to have lied to Homeland Security agents about his travel back to Syria to fight with and support terror groups in 2013 to 2014.

The complaint says there is probably cause to believe Al-Jayab solicited membership for a terrorist group, provided support for the group, and called for, helped with or committed the killing of others as part of his support.

Al-Jayab was scheduled to make an initial appearance Friday in federal court in Sacramento at 2:00 p.m.

The suspect arrested in Houston was identified as 24-year-old Omar Faraj Saeed Al-Hardan. The Associated Press reported Al-Hardan was indicted Wednesday on three charges of trying to provide support to the Islamic State, or ISIS.

"I can confirm that there were two national security related arrests today, one in Houston and one in Sacramento," said Department of Justice National Security Division spokesman Marc Raimondi. "There is no current threat to public safety associated with these arrests.  More information will be released when court documents become available or the defendants make their initial appearances."

A law enforcement source told CBS News it's believed the A-Hardan became radicalized during his more than one year living in the U.S.

"This is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the U.S. from countries substantially controlled by terrorists," said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a prepared statement Thursday. "I once again urge the President to halt the resettlement of these refugees in the United States until there is an effective vetting process that will ensure refugees do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans."

There was no immediate comment from the California Gov. Jerry Brown's office.


Carlos E. Castañeda is Senior Editor, News & Social Media for CBS San Francisco and a San Francisco native. You can follow him on Twitter or send him an email.

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