- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2016

A New Jersey resident who assisted members of a local terror cell was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in federal prison for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State.

Alaa Saadeh, 24, will be subject to a lifetime of supervised release in addition to the decade-and-a-half prison term delivered Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark. He had faced a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

“The public has to be protected,” the judge said at the sentencing, NJ.com reported.

Saadeh was indicted on terror-related charges along with three other men, including his brother, in late June, and pleaded guilty in October.

In his plea agreement, Saadeh admitted that he had planned to travel overseas to join the Islamic State terror group and had discussed his plans with other members of the New Jersey terror cell during discussions at his apartment.

Prosecutors said Saadeh’s credit card was used by his brother to purchase a plane ticket to join up with the group, and that he then attempted to destroy the evidence.

“He could have stopped it,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson Welle. “Instead, he planned it, facilitated it and agreed to help cover it up.”

Saadeh, who had no criminal history prior to the terror charges, apologized at Tuesday’s sentencing for allowing himself to contribute towards the group’s campaign of terror.

“I apologize to everybody … I feel like I let my family down, my brother down, myself down,” he said, according to NBC News. “These people (the Islamic State) are not who they claim they are. They are making it worse for Muslim people.”

“I have no one to blame but myself. The government says I could have done something to prevent this and they are right. I could have done more. I don’t want anything to do with this group I want to apologize again.”

The brother, Nader Saadeh, and another conspirator, Samuel Rahamin Topaz, pleaded guilty to the same charge, conspiring to provide material support to a known terrorist organization, and are scheduled to be sentenced in the fall.

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