Two American nationals charged with scouting possible terrorist targets in US
The FBI acted quickly by taking them into custodyHezbollah Flag | by upyernoz Hezbollah/ Labeled for reuse
Two men have been arrested by the FBI for providing material support to the terrorist organization known as Hezbollah, and one of the men might have even kept his terrorist training a secret when he applied for U.S. citizenship.
Ali Kourani of New York and Samer El Debek of Michigan have been arrested and charged with not only weapons-related crimes, but also multiple counts of providing material support to the terrorist organization known as Hezbollah.
Both men were allegedly scouting out possible targets for terrorist activities inside the U.S. and Panama.
The two men are naturalized U.S. citizens and received military training from the Shi’ite Muslim group known as Hezbollah, based in Lebanon.
Kourani immigrated from Lebanon to the U.S. in 2003, and launched a campaign of surveillance for potential targets in New York City, including LaGuardia Airport and the FBI’s New York headquarters.
Kourani never disclosed that he had attended terrorist training camps at the age of 16 when he applied for his U.S. citizenship, likely knowing it would bar him from entry.
The other man arrested, El Debek, traveled to Panama to gain information on both the American and Israeli embassies, as well as weak links in the security surrounding the Panama Canal.
After his computer was seized by the FBI, multiple search terms pertaining to the terrorist organization Hezbollah were found on his computer.
U.S. Attorney John H. Kim said in a press release that, “Today, we announce serious terrorism charges against two men who allegedly trained with and supported the Islamic Jihad Organization, a component of the foreign terrorist organization Hizballah. Recruited as Hizballah operatives, Samer El Debek and Ali Kourani allegedly received military-style training, including in the use of weapons like rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns for use in support of the group’s terrorist mission.”