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Convicted jihadist with California ties loses US citizenship

A federal judge has revoked the U.S. citizenship of Khaled Abu al-Dahab, an Egypt native who prosecutors believe ran a communications hub or a terrorist cell out of his California apartment. (Getty Images)

A federal judge has revoked the citizenship of a man prosecutors believe ran a communications hub for an Egyptian terrorist cell out of his northern California apartment.

Last week, Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the “denaturalization” of Khaled Abu al-Dahab after the 57-year-old Egypt native allegedly lied to immigration officials during the process of applying for U.S. citizenship, according to The Associated Press.

“We will protect our national security and our borders, and when we identify individuals tied to foreign terrorist organizations who procured their U.S. citizenship by fraud, we will initiate denaturalization proceedings — whether you reside here or abroad — and ensure you are denied entry into the United States,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

The Justice Department made the announcement late last week, saying al-Dahab was a member of the terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad for a decade, staring in 1989. He migrated to the United States in 1986.

The department said the former Silicon Valley car dealer admitted to spending a couple months in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he received military-style training. Al-Dahab also admitted to the FBI that he operated a communications hub for the group out of his apartment in Santa Clara, California.

In addition, he told U.S. investigators he worked to recruit Americans of Middle Eastern descent into the terror network during his 12 years in California. Al-Dahab said Osama bin Laden was keen on recruiting U.S. citizens because their passports could be used to facilitate international travel by al Qaeda terrorists.

He told investigators that bin Laden personally congratulated him for his work.

Al-Dahab became a U.S. citizen on Feb. 7, 1997. The next year, he traveled to Egypt, where he was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 15 years in prison for being a member of a terrorist group trying to overthrow the Egyptian government. He has lived in Alexandria, Egypt, since his release in 2011.

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