NEWARK - A West New York man accused of plotting to support a terrorist group made his first appearance in Newark Federal Court Monday.
Alaa Saadeh, 23, was taken into custody Monday morning. According to a federal complaint, the FBI had been monitoring Saadeh and three others who were planning on joining the Islamic State group overseas.
Saadeh is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL, aiding and abetting in that support and witness tampering. Authorities say he tried to persuade a witness to lie to the FBI about him.
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Residents in West New York were shocked to hear the news of the arrest.
"It's odd to have a terrorist by your house," says neighbor Charlie Lombardi. "You don't know who's living next door anymore."
Jose Granada, another neighbor, was equally perplexed. "We've got everything here. We've got freedom, we've got everything."
According to the federal complaint, Saadeh believed one of the others snitched on him when he learned his brother was arrested overseas. Saadeh allegedly said he would "kill someone" and told a witness to "play dumb" after he learned the FBI was on to him.
This is the second New Jersey man to be arrested recently for allegedly conspiring to join Islamic State militants. Earlier this month, Samuel Rahamin Topaz, of Fort Lee, was also taken into custody and charged. Authorities say the FBI had been monitoring Saadeh, his brother who was arrested in Jordan, Topaz and another man from Queens.
Saadeh could face up to 60 years in prison if convicted.