Officials Say Ex-ISIS Fighter Entered US as Refugee

Omar Abdulsattar Ameen was arrested, will be extradited to Iraq
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2018 6:32 PM CDT
Officials Say Ex-ISIS Fighter Entered US as Refugee
Omar Abdulsattar Ameen   (U.S. Attorney's Office via AP)

An Iraqi man accused of killing for the Islamic State entered the US as a refugee, the AP reports. Omar Abdulsattar Ameen, 45, was arrested in California on Wednesday and will be extradited to Iraq under a treaty with that nation, US officials say. He made his first appearance in federal court in Sacramento after his arrest at an apartment building in the state capital. Ameen left Iraq and fled in 2012 to Turkey, where he applied to be accepted as a refugee to the US, according to court documents. He was granted that status in June 2014. That same month, prosecutors say he returned to Iraq, where he killed a police officer in the town of Rawah after it fell to the Islamic State.

Five months later, Ameen traveled to the United States to be resettled as a refugee. Ameen was arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force based on a warrant issued in May by an Iraqi federal court. Ameen could face execution for the "organized killing by an armed group," according to Iraqi documents filed in US federal court. The Trump administration has criticized the Obama-era resettlement program for not doing enough to keep out terrorists. Seamus Hughes of George Washington University says most ISIS cases in the US have involved US-born citizens and that the case should be considered rare but illustrates holes in the system. "There was clearly a number of tripwires that didn't go off in this vetting process," he says.

(More terrorism stories.)

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