A 20-year-old New Jersey man has been charged on terror-related counts for allegedly trying to help organize a "small army" of ISIS fighters in New York and the Garden State and for traveling overseas with the intent to join the terror group, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Nader Saadeh, who lived in Rutherford until he left the country May 5, allegedly to join ISIS, was arrested Monday on charges of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization, federal officials said. He was previously taken into custody in Jordan.
Saadeh's brother, Alaa, along with at least three others in New York and New Jersey, were arrested in recent months in connection with the alleged ISIS cell.
The FBI said Nader Saadeh posted anti-American messages online beginning in 2012 and repeatedly viewed ISIS videos. The agency said he praised the burning alive of a captured Jordanian pilot by ISIS fighters and said that, as well as the murders of several staff members of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier this year were justified.
Investigators said Saadeh began rallying friends to join the terror group in the last two years. An informant helped the FBI in the investigation.
According to the informant, Saadeh had become a radicalized ISIS supporter by April and planned to travel overseas to join them. He flew out of John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 5, allegedly for that purpose. Emails sent to him from his family members overseas, including his mother, pleaded with him not to join ISIS, according to federal officials.
Saadeh's brother, who was arrested in late June, told authorities an alleged conspirator from Queens gave Saadeh an ISIS contact near the Turkey/Syria border who could facilitate his travel once overseas, federal officials said.
Officials said there was no specific plot, although some suspects arrested earlier this year were allegedly scouting New York City landmarks as possible targets, including the George Washington Bridge.
Saadeh was ordered to be held without bail during a hearing in federal court in Newark Monday afternoon. Each of the charges carries up to 20 years in prison.
An attorney for the man declined to comment to NBC 4 New York, saying he needed to meet with his client.
Officials said the parents of the Nader Saadeh were deported more than a decade ago in connection with an alleged credit card fraud case. The Saadeh children were allowed to stay with custodians in New Jersey because they were US citizens, officials said.