A Sacramento man who traveled to Syria has been accused of planning to “take up arms with terrorist organizations” and lying to immigration officials about his role, according to federal prosecutors.
Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, was charged with making a false statement related to international terrorism in a federal complaint unsealed Thursday in Sacramento.
Al-Jayab is a Palestinian born in Iraq and came to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee in October 2012, according to the complaint.
The government alleges that while living in Arizona and Wisconsin he communicated via social media with others about his intent to fly to Syria to fight for terrorist groups.
He allegedly bragged about previous experience with firearms and with fighting against the Syrian regime. In November 2013, he flew from Chicago to Turkey and traveled to Syria. He allegedly said on social media between November 2013 and January 2014 that he was fighting in Syria with terror groups, including Ansar al-Islam, which is designated a foreign terror group.
The complaint alleges that Al-Jayab, when interviewed by U.S. immigration officials, denied he was ever a member of any rebel group or militia and had never supported any terror group or used weapons against others.
While Al-Jayab “represented a potential safety threat, there is no indication that he planned any acts of terrorism in this country,” according to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wager, in Sacramento.
If convicted Al-Jayab could face a maximum of eight years in prison.
He was scheduled to be arraigned in Sacramento Friday.
Case: U.S. v. Al-Jayab, No. not yet available.