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Pennsylvania man ordered released despite biting FBI agents

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania man known to terrorism-monitoring groups for posting Islamist screeds online was ordered released on bail on Thursday following his arrest on charges he bit two FBI agents and carried a loaded handgun.

Emerson Begolly, 21, of New Bethlehem, was taken into custody on Tuesday after biting two FBI agents who approached him while he was sitting in his car, court documents said.

"Begolly bit both agents and drew blood," an FBI agent wrote in the criminal complaint against Begolly.

Once the agents subdued Begolly, the complaint said, they discovered a pistol in his sweater pocket with the safety off and a bullet in the chamber.

At a hearing on Thursday in Pittsburgh federal court, a judge agreed to release Begolly on $25,000 bail if he surrendered his passport and agreed to stay at a halfway house in the city.

Prosecutors asked the judge not to release Begolly until Friday so they could file an appeal and the judge agreed.

Begolly has yet to enter a plea.

The U.S.-based terrorism monitoring service SITE Institute, which followed Begolly's web postings under various aliases, said in a statement that "Begolly is part of a trend of American converts to Islam who have become radicalized through online jihadist forums."

"Not only a zealot himself, Begolly seeks to exhort others to engage in violent jihad through both his songs and his writings," the institute said.

Authorities declined to say why they had approached Begolly in the first place and declined to comment on his radical Internet postings.

(Reporting by Basil Katz, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)