Two Muslim men who both trained with Hezbollah before immigrating to the United States have been arrested on terror charges. Ali Kourani and Samer El Debek, a/k/a ‘Samer Eldebek, have been arrested on charges that they have been working for Hezbollah here in the United States and Panama.
It was their job to locate key targets for terrorists. Kourani was living in The Bronx, a borough of New York City and El Debek was living in Michigan.
According to the detailed news release outlining the case, the men were allegedly searching out areas for possible terror attacks on U.S. soil and in Panama. According to NBC News, Kourani had sought out La Guardia International Airport as a possible target, as well as the New York FBI Headquarters.
Kourani, a native of Lebanon, is a naturalized American citizen who has been in the United States since 2003. According to the news release, he lied during his entry examination and omitted the fact that he had trained under Hezbollah in Lebanon when he was as a teenager. According to the release, Kourani has been arrested on charges that included:
“Providing, attempting, and conspiring to provide material support to Hizballah [sic]; receiving and conspiring to receive military-type training from Hizballah; a related weapons offense that is alleged to have involved, among other weapons, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and machine guns; violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”); and naturalization fraud to facilitate an act of international terrorism.”
Eldebek, meanwhile, was also a naturalized citizen. The news release does not specify his country of origin, though it also appears to be Lebanon, where he also received training from Hezbollah.
He had reportedly traveled to Panama to case the Israeli and United States embassies as possible targets for terrorism attacks.
When he was arrested, according to the release, over 250 searches that pertained to Hezbollah, like “Hezbollah martyrs” and “martyrs of Islamic resistance,” were found on his computer.
According to the release, acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated, “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.”