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Hearing delayed for Aurora teen accused of trying to join terrorist group

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Updated: April 24, 2013 2:19AM

An Aurora man accused of trying to connect with an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group in Syria appeared before a federal judge Tuesday.

However, instead of going ahead with Abdella Ahmad Tounisi’s detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin agreed to postpone the proceedings until May 2 after a new attorney, Molly Armour, filed her appearance on Tounisi’s behalf.

Tounisi appeared in a bright orange jumpsuit at the Dirksen federal courthouse, hands behind his back and legs shackled. He said only “yes” and “yes sir” as the judge asked him about his new lawyer.

When the hearing ended, he looked straight ahead as he was led out of the courtroom. The 18-year-old defendant’s father and other family members attended the hearing but refused to speak to reporters.

Tounisi was arrested Friday night as he tried to board a plane at O’Hare Airport. Authorities say he planned to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there travel to Syria to join the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusrah. A federal complaint against him cites emails he thought he was sending to terrorists, but he was actually communicating with FBI agents who had set up a sham website calling for jihad.

He was charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

His father has said he was entrapped by federal authorities.

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