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Convicted jihadist with California ties loses US citizenship

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge revoked the U.S. citizenship of a man who prosecutors say ran a communications hub for an Egyptian terrorist group out of his Northern California apartment, authorities said.

Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week ordered the “denaturalization” of Khaled Abu al-Dahab, 57, for lying to immigration officials during the process to gain U.S. citizenship, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.

The Justice Department said the Egypt native was a member of the terrorist organization Egyptian Islamic Jihad for 10 years starting in 1989, three years after moving to the United States.

The former Silicon Valley car salesman admitted he spent two months at a camp near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he received military-style training and taught foreign fighters to fly hang gliders in preparation for terrorist attacks. He also admitted to the FBI that he operated a communications hub for the group out of his Santa Clara, California, apartment, the department said.

Al-Dahab also admitted to U.S. investigators that he worked to recruit Americans of Middle Eastern descent into the terrorist network during his 12 years in California. Al-Dahab told the investigators that Osama bin Laden was eager to recruit American citizens of Middle Eastern descent because their U.S. passports could be used to facilitate international travel by al Qaeda terrorists, and that bin Laden personally congratulated him for this work, the department said.

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 organization and trying to overthrow the Egyptian government. He has lived in Alexandria, Egypt, since his 2011 release.

“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.

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