Fifth arrest made in New Jersey for terror-related charges

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NEWARK, N.J. -- A New Jersey man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, the fifth such arrest of a tri-state area resident this month, the FBI said Monday.

Alaa Saadeh, 23, of West New York, N.J., was taken into custody Monday morning at his home, the FBI said.

In addition to accusations he conspired with other men in New Jersey and New York to provide services and personnel to the Islamic State terror group, Saadeh is suspected of trying to persuade a witness to lie to the FBI, the agency said.

The 23-year-old appeared before a judge Monday afternoon.

Manny Gomez, a former FBI agent and founder of MG Security Services says that Monday's arrest should be embraced with mixed feelings, "The authorities are doing an amazing job at identifying, investigating and ultimately arresting these people and stopping these attacks."

That is the good news.

As for the bad?

"The bad news is that statistically speaking, ISIS is recruiting more and more young people on a daily basis and the authorities are being challenged more and more everyday to keep up with these potential attacks," says Gomez.

The FBI said Saadeh's brother left the U.S. in May allegedly to join the terror group, which uses beheadings and mass killings -- often captured on camera then published online -- to impose its violent agenda.

Saadeh along with another man and Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, allegedly traveled with him and promised to meet overseas again in a few weeks. Soon after, Saadeh's brother, whom the FBI did not identify, was arrested in Jordan on suspicion of supporting ISIS, federal officials said.

But Saadeh, Topaz and a third man continued to discuss their suspected terror goals. That is, until May 21 when he and Topaz allegedly talked about the need to "lay low," apparently suspicious that someone may have "snitched" on their plans and that the feds were listening, the FBI said.

Saadeh allegedly revealed to an informant that he supported ISIS and their brutal slayings, the FBI said. He then allegedly told someone in New Jersey to "play dumb" and be "honest up to a point" but be sure not to tell the FBI anything about his suspected terror aspirations.

PIX 11 spoke with U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke, a former Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security at her Brooklyn office.  Rep. Clarke says it translates to, "Well it just says to me that we've got a lot more work to do in terms of finding those potential lone operators."

Rep. Clarke also added that equally as disturbing is the fact that a number of the men arrested are relatively young, "It speaks to some sort of disillusionment among some young people, particularly those who would be more vulnerable to those trying to find acceptance and unfortunately that acceptance is through theses dramatic terrorist plots."

As for the fact that this is the fifth arrest in the tri-State area in recent weeks, Gomez says the rash is concerning, "Five in a short amount of time in the same area is a new thing and it makes one wonder how many more are out there in the country that we don't have eyes and ears on that can potentially blow up, literally at any given time."

Each count in the complaint against Saadeh carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.