Tags: Al-Qaida | Iran | ISIS/Islamic State | Law Enforcement | Trump Administration | War on Terrorism | hezbollah

Feds: Hezbollah Operative Scouted NYC Spots for 22 Years

Lebanon's Hezbollah supporters take part in a religious procession to mark the Shi'ite Ashura ceremony in Beirut
Lebanon's Hezbollah supporters take part in a religious procession to mark the Shi'ite Ashura ceremony, in Beirut, Lebanon. (Mikhail Alaeddin/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 19 September 2019 05:44 PM

A New Jersey man was charged Thursday by federal authorities with training with and scouting out U.S. terror-attack locations for Hezbollah over 22 years, providing intelligence on such New York City locations as the Port Authority, Grand Central Terminal, the New York Stock Exchange, and the city's two airports.

Alexei Saab, 42, of Morristown, N.J., was charged in a nine-count indictment that was unsealed Thursday for his connection to the global terrorist group, the New York Post reports.

He has used at least three other names over the years and joined Hezbollah in 1996, according to the indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement Saab, "while living in the United States, served as an operative of Hezbollah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States.

"Such covert activities conducted on U.S. soil are a clear threat to our national security," he said.

Saab lawfully entered the United States using a Lebanese passport in 2000, authorities said, becoming a naturalized citizen in 2008.

According to the indictment, Saab is charged with providing Hezbollah with detailed surveillance on and photographs of New York City landmarks since as early as 2003.

Others include the United Nations, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Empire State Building — along with local airports, tunnels, and bridges.

The FBI recovered detailed information from Saab's computers that also included photographs specifics on structural "soft spots" of various locations, according to the indictment.

He also is accused of providing Hezbollah with similar data on other sites around the country.

Once joining Hezbollah, Saab allegedly worked as a spy in Lebanon, tracking the movements of Israeli and Southern Lebanese Army soldiers, and gathering intelligence in Istanbul.

He also received training in using AK-47s and other firearms — and in 2000, underwent extensive instruction in military tactics, including how to build bombs and other explosive devices, according to the indictment.

In 2005, Saab tried to kill a suspected Israeli spy by pointing a firearm at close range and pulling the trigger twice, officials said.

The gun, however, malfunctioned both times.

In addition, Saab allegedly attended explosives training in Lebanon 2004 and 2005.

He received extensive instruction in triggering mechanisms, explosive substances, detonators and assembling sophisticated circuitry, the indictment alleges.

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Charged Thursday by federal authorities, a New Jersey man trained with and scouted U.S. terror-attack locations for Hezbollah over 22 years, providing intelligence on such New York City locations, according to a report.
hezbollah, terrorism, terror plot, new york city
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2019-44-19
Thursday, 19 September 2019 05:44 PM
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