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Suspected Islamic State member accused of killing police officer in Iraq arrested in Sacramento, where he settled as a refugee

Suspected Islamic State member accused of killing police officer in Iraq arrested in Sacramento, where he settled as a refugee
Omar Ameen, who is accused of killing a police officer in Iraq in 2014, was arrested in Sacramento. (U.S. Attorney's Office)

A suspected member of Islamic State accused of killing a police officer in Iraq was arrested Wednesday in Sacramento, where he had settled as a refugee and sought to obtain a green card, federal authorities said.

Authorities allege that Omar Ameen, 45, entered his hometown of Rawa, a city of about 20,000 on the Euphrates River, in June 2014 with a caravan of four Islamic State vehicles and opened fire on the officer’s home. The officer returned fire, and Ameen shot him while he was on the ground, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.

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The officer died of a gunshot wound to the chest. After the shooting, a social media post celebrated the officer’s killing, calling him a criminal who was “eliminated at the hands of the Mujahedin,” court records allege.

Ameen fled Iraq after the attack, authorities said, and settled in Sacramento as a refugee. He allegedly concealed his links to terrorism when he applied for refugee status, and again when he applied for a green card. Instead, authorities said, he claimed on his refugee application that his family was a target of violence in Iraq.

Authorities allege that Ameen belonged to Al Qaeda — and then Islamic State — since at least 2004, participating in terrorist activities that included helping plant roadside bombs, killing the officer in Rawa, robbing supply trucks and kidnapping drivers. At least eight witnesses have told the FBI — which has been investigating Ameen since 2016 — that Ameen and his family are affiliated with terrorist groups.

A judge in Iraq issued a warrant for Ameen’s arrest in May. He appeared Wednesday in federal court in Sacramento and will face extradition proceedings to face trial in Iraq as part of a treaty with the nation. Ameen faces a maximum penalty of death in Iraq.

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