A suburban Chicago teenager pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge he sought to join an al-Qaida-linked group fighting Bashar Assad's regime in Syria.
Abdella Ahmad Tounisi's attorney entered the plea Wednesday at a federal court in Chicago. The 18-year-old Tounisi stood by her side in orange jail garb, his legs shackled.
A status hearing was scheduled for July 30 at federal court in Chicago.
The FBI says it snared the 18-year-old in an online sting. Authorities arrested him last month at O'Hare International Airport as he allegedly prepared for the first leg of a trip to join Jabhat al-Nusrah.
Early this month, one federal judge agreed to release the Aurora teen to home confinement pending trial. But another judge reversed that ruling, saying Tounisi posed a threat to the community.
He's charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces a maximum 23-year prison term.
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