An Iraqi refugee who authorities say wanted to set off bombs at two Houston malls has pleaded guilty to trying to help the Islamic State group.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing Jan. 17.

The 24-year-old came to Houston from Iraq in 2009. He was indicted in January.

A federal agent testified earlier this year that Hardan was learning to make electronic transmitters that could be used to detonate explosives.

Prosecutors alleged Al Hardan was coordinating with another Iraqi refugee in California. They said the two men talked about getting weapons training and eventually sneaking into Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State.