U.S refugee arrested over alleged ISIS killing in Iraq
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Omar Ameen Omar Ameen, is an Iraqi national, wanted on a murder charge...[+]
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
An Iraqi refugee has been arrested in the US after allegedly killing a police officer while he fought for the terrorist Islamic State group in 2014. It has cast doubt on the efficacy of the US resettlement scheme.
Omar Abdulsattar Ameen, 45, is wanted on a murder charge in Iraq over his killing of officer Ihsan Abdulhafiz Jasim in the town of Rawah. He was arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in May on a warrant issued by the Federal Court in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Citing several witness interviews, prosecutors said Ameen had been part of Al-Qaeda in Iraq since 2004 before he joined IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS). An Iraqi intelligence report also alleges that he was one of the founders of a terrorist group that became affiliated with Al-Qaeda and was a “close associate” of its leader.
He failed to reveal his affiliation with both terrorist organizations when applying for refugee status in the US, instead portraying himself as a victim of violence. It led to his application being accepted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services on June 5, 2014.
Rather than immediately immigrating to the US, however, Ameen went back to Iraq, where he allegedly murdered the official less than three weeks later.
He was resettled in Sacramento on November 4 the same year, prosecutors said.
His application for refugee status was accepted despite it being “common knowledge” in Rawah that he was a senior local figure of AQI and ISIS,” a detention memorandum said.
Court documents say the Iraqi national killed the Rawah Police Department officer on the night of June 22, alongside several ISIS fighters.
Ameen had been on the FBI’s watchlist for suspected visa fraud since 2016.
The case has been branded one of the most “serious” failures of refugee resettlement ever.
In comments to the New York Times, Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the George Washington University Program on Extremism, highlighted the authorities’ failure to consider the pile of evidence in relation to Ameen’s terrorist affiliations.
“It’s clear there were breakdowns in the refugee vetting system on this case as a lot of the information on him was readily available,” said Hughes, who maintains a thorough database of Americans who joined IS.
“The FBI has been watching him for the last two years, but he was a known commodity in Iraq for nearly a decade. This is not the first case of a failure in the refugee screening process, but one of the most serious I have seen.”
He appeared before the Eastern District of California Court on Wednesday, and is due to attend court again on Monday afternoon. He is being held in the Sacramento County Jail.