— Two Iraqis living in Kentucky have been charged with building roadside bombs when they lived in Iraq that targeted U.S. soldiers and with trying to provide weapons to al-Qaida fighters in Iraq once they got to the United States.
The two were admitted to the country as refugees in 2009 and have been living most recently in Bowling Green, Ky., hoping to become citizens and obtain U.S. passports, though there's no allegation that they plotted any terrorist attacks in the United States.
Their arrest Wednesday followed an intensive investigation that began shortly after the men arrived in the U.S. The charges against Waad Ramadan Alawan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, were made public Tuesday in a 23-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury. They made their initial court appearances in Louisville; both face sentences of life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors claim that for roughly eight years, Alwan helped build and place roadside bombs in Iraq. Prosecutors say the FBI has found two of his fingerprints on a bomb that failed to explode and was recovered by U.S. forces in Iraq. Court documents say he bragged to an undercover informant that his bombs were used in attacks on U.S. Humvees and Bradley fighting vehicles.
After coming to America, investigators say, the two began plotting to send money and military supplies back to Iraq, hidden in cars sent from the U.S. They thought they sent Stinger missiles, plastic explosives, grenade launchers and other weapons. None of it actually made it but was, as court documents say, "carefully controlled by law enforcement as part of the undercover operation."