An Iraqi refugee living in the U.S. since 2009 was allegedly learning how to make detonators for a massacre at Texas malls.
Homeland Security Special Agent Herman Wittliff told U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes on Wednesday that Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, was studying electronic transmitters and received firearms training prior to his Jan. 7 arrest in Houston.
“He wanted to build [the transmitters] for ISIL,” Wittliff said, the Associated Press reported.
“For what purpose?” asked prosecutor Ralph Imperato.
“So he could kill people,” Wittliff answered.
The agent also read an October 2014 recording between Al Hardan and his wife on the desire to fight with the Islamic State group.
“Once I get the passport, I will leave America. I will leave. I will make a widow of you,” Al Hardan said to his wife, according to the excerpt. “I will go to Syria. I am not wacko. I am not wacko. I am speaking the truth. I want to blow myself up. I want to blow myself up. I am against America.”
Wittliff told prosecutors that Al Harden, who is charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, had a photo in his bedroom of an allegiance ceremony to the terror group.
Al Harden was also allegedly in contact with 23-year-old refugee Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab of Sacremento, California, who was also arrested Jan. 7 and charged with making a false statement involving international terrorism.
Judge Hughes denied Al Hardan a bond and said he was too much of a flight risk.
The FBI’s Houston office released a statement Thursday saying an “active or planned plot targeting a specific location” was not in motion at the time of Al Hardan’s arrest, AP reported. “There is no specific or credible information to indicate a threat to the Houston area at this time.”
Defense attorney David Adler told the judge that owning electronic components is not illegal and Al Harden’s firearm training was nothing more than “two guys shooting a gun.”
Adler did not provide any witnesses prior to the judge’s decision.
Al Hardan faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.