RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A Jordanian national who previously lived in Rutherford was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on Monday for conspiring to support foreign terrorism in Iraq.
Nader Saadeh, 23, was among a group of men charged by federal agents with "trying to provide material support" to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
He took a plea deal from the government in exchange for the sentence. He also will have a lifetime of supervised release, under the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark.
“Thanks to the intervention of the FBI-Newark Joint Terrorism Task Force and federal prosecutors on this case, Saadeh’s criminal aspirations were never realized," Carpenito said. "Instead of joining ISIS’ ranks, he will spend the next several years in prison.”
Also accepting plea deals from the government were his brother, Alaa Saadeh of West New York, who was sentenced to 15 years in 2016, and Samuel Rahamin Topaz, a Fort Lee resident who formerly sang in a rock band from Englewood and is scheduled for sentencing on Tuesday.
Two accomplices pleaded guilty, as well: Munther Omar Saleh, 21, of Queens, got 18 years in February, while Fareed Mumuni, 22, of Staten Island, was sentenced to 17 years late last week.
The Saadeh brothers "discussed plans to carry out an attack in ISIL’s name using homemade bombs at locations in New York City, including Times Square, the World Trade Center, and Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, in Queens," Carpenito said.
Between 2012 and 2013, Nader Saadeh sent a cooperator electronic messages "expressing his hatred for the United States and desire to form a small army that would include their friends," federal authorities said in a 2015 release.
Before long, Saadeh "had become a radicalized supporter of ISIL who was preparing to travel overseas with other individuals," the release said.
"Nader Saadeh said that ISIL’s execution of a captured Jordanian Air Force pilot by burning him alive and the murders of several staff members of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France, earlier this year were justified," it added.
FBI agents obtained computer files showing that Saadeh "viewed ISIL propaganda videos and researched the availability of flights to Turkey, which borders Syria, where ISIL claims to control territory." They also seized electronic messages sent by family members pleading with Saadeh not to join ISIL.
Saadeh, who flew to the Middle East in May 2015 to join ISIL, "admitted that once he reached ISIL-controlled territory he intended to fight on behalf of ISIL," the government said. "Saadeh further admitted that Saleh assisted him by giving him a contact who would facilitate his travel from Turkey to ISIL in Syria."
He also admitted reviewing drawings for homemade bombs.
The Jordanian government seized Saadeh when he landed in Amman and later turned him over to U.S. authorities.
Carpenito and Assistant Attorney General Demers credited special agents of the FBI and the Newark Joint Terrorism Task Force with the investigation.
( The JTTF is comprised of agents and officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Paterson Police Department and New York City Police Department, among other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. )
Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis C. Carletta and Francisco J. Navarro of the Carpenito's National Security Unit in Newark, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Justin Sher and Robert Sander of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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