OAKLAND (KRON) — For the first time, KRON4 is seeing the Oakland man facing terror-related charges after the FBI accused him of sharing plans to attack the Bay Area in the name of ISIS.
And on Friday night, his family is defending his character.
Twenty-two-year-old Amer Sinan Alhaggagi is charged with attempting to support terrorism and accused telling undercover police of potential attack plans.
One of the spots the suspect allegedly named to the FBI is UC Berkeley.
The family says it has been a difficult week for the family since the indictment.
Alhaggagi’s uncle tells KRON4 the accusations against his nephew came as a shock to the family who’ve never seen evidence of radicalization.
Alhaggagi was charged by a federal grand jury for allegedly trying to support the terror group ISIS.
The FBI arrested him last November after prosecutors claim Alhaggagi told an undercover agent he planned to attack various Bay Area locations like Berkeley High School where he himself graduated in 2013, UC Berkeley, along with the Mission and Castro districts in San Francisco.
An attorney read what they say are Alhaggagi’s own words aloud in the courtroom last Friday.
“I live close to San Francisco, that’s like the gay capital of the world,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Wagar Hasib Alhaggagi said as he recites what the suspect said in the recording. “I’m gonna handle them right lol. I’m gonna place a bomb in a gay club. By God, I’m going to tear up the city. The whole Bay Area is going to be up in flames.”
Distraught by the allegations, Alhaggagi’s uncle met with KRON4 to defend his innocence saying the charges took their family by surprise.
“Of course, they were shocked,” uncle Hashem Awnallah said. “Naturally, they were not aware of what was going on. They were not aware there was any trouble.”
Alhaggagi grew up in the East Bay and most recently lived in West Oakland.
His uncle says he is a charitable person who helped those around him which contradicts the charges filed against him.
“They do not frankly correspond to his personality in any way or form,” Awnallah said. “I mean, the young man is well-known for being pleasant, friendly, peaceful. Totally non-violent and non-radicalized.”
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