Iraqi refugee gets 16 years for trying to help Islamic State

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HOUSTON (AP) — An Iraqi refugee who authorities say wanted to set off bombs at two Houston malls has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for trying to help the Islamic State group.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan was sentenced in Houston federal court on Monday.

He pleaded guilty in October 2016 to attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The 25-year-old came to Houston from Iraq in 2009. He was arrested in January 2016.

Authorities say Hardan was learning to make electronic transmitters that could be used to detonate explosives.

Prosecutors alleged Al Hardan was coordinating with another Iraqi refugee in California. They said the two men talked about getting weapons training and eventually going to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State.

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