US judge to hear plea in NC terror assistance case

Updated:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)

arolina man accused of seeking to join an al-Qaida-linked militant group is scheduled to appear in court to officially hear the federal government's case against him.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle has scheduled an arraignment Thursday for 29-year-old Basit Sheikh of Cary. He's expected to enter a plea on the criminal charge. Boyle is allowing some government motions to stay secret.

Sheikh was arrested in November at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at the start of what prosecutors say was a trek to fight in Syria's civil war with Jabhat al-Nusra, also called the Nusra Front.

The FBI has been on the lookout for Americans expressing interest in joining the Syrian war, where they could become radicalized by al-Qaida-linked militant groups and return to the U.S. as battle-hardened security risks.