Family of Bay Area man accused of planning terrorist acts speaks out

WEST OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The uncle of Oakland's Amer Alhaggagi says the federal terrorism charges against the 22-year-old Berkeley High School graduate do not jive with the young man he has known.

"Non-violent, non-aggressive, non-harmful, very cooperative, very humanitarian," Hashem Awnallah, Alhaggagi's uncle, said.

But Alhaggagi has been indicted on multiple counts that he tried to create social media accounts to benefit ISIS, and was plotting violent attacks in the Bay Area, including a suicide bombing.

RELATED: U.S. Department of Justice releases statement on Alhaggagi

They are allegations that were laid out by a federal prosecutor last fall during a detention hearing.

"His plan was to have some type of car bomb in San Francisco and lay backpack bombs in the East Bay," prosecutors said.

They also say Alhaggagi spoke about plans to start fires in Berkeley and San Francisco, sell cocaine laced with rat poison in nightclubs, and that he downloaded a bomb-making manual onto his computer and sent an FBI informant photos of guns he had obtained.

"This rises to something that was more than just daydreaming. This was something we invested a lot of time and effort into and the FBI does not do that and law enforcement doesn't do that unless there is a clear and present danger," Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the FBI's San Francisco Field Office said.

But Alhagaggi's friends and family say they saw no signs that he was being radicalized, much less acting on it.

"It's kind of like two opposite ends. There's this one picture we have of him, and there's this other picture we see being painted, and it's kind of saddening to see that," Alhaggagi's friend Sahaid Ahmed said.

Alhaggagi is considered a flight risk and is being held without bond.

RELATED: U.S. Department of Justice releases statement on Alhaggagi
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