Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan (Source: US Marshals Service)
BOWLING GREEN, KY (WAVE) - Two Iraqi citizens who allegedly have ties to carrying out Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq have been arrested and indicted on federal terrorism charges in western Kentucky.
30-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan and 23-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, both who currently reside in Bowling Green, Kentucky, were indicted on May 26 by a federal grand jury. It's believed the two men were living as refugees here in the U.S.
Alwan is charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals abroad, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals abroad, distributing information on the manufacture and use if IEDs, attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al-Qaeda in Iraq, as well as conspiracy to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles.
Hammadi is charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al-Qaeda in Iraq, as well as conspiracy to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles.
"In the weapons charge there are some significant weapons, stinger missiles, C-4 grenades, rocket launchers, said Elizabeth Fries, the FBI Special Agent in Kentucky operations.
The pair were arrested on May 25 and made their initial appearances in a Louisville federal court May 31. Both plead not guilty. Each faces a potential life sentence if convicted of all the charges in the indictment.
According to the Department of Justice, both defendants were closely monitored by federal law enforcement authorities in the months leading up to their arrests and neither is charged with planning attacks within the United States.
"Neither person is charged with plotting any attacks on American soil," said David Hale, .S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. "These charges relate to activities that occur when they were in Iraq, first of all. Secondly, they relate to conspiracy to aid Al Qaeda in Iraq."
According to the FBI, Alwan entered the U.S. in April 2009 and has lived in Bowling Green since his arrival. Hammadi entered the U.S. in July 2009. He first resided in Las Vegas, then moved to Bowling Green.
"Sometimes you can get into tricky (legal) issues," said Russell Weaver, a University of Louisville law professor referring to terrorism charges.
According to Weaver, defense attorneys would likely have a hard time proving entrapment when you consider prosecutors have evidence like fingerprints on a bomb.
"In this case, the evidence was they were involved in terrorist activities so it's going to be pretty easy to show they were predisposed to commit the crime," said Weaver.
Both men are in the custody of U.S. Marshals and will be back in court June 8 in Bowling Green.
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