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US government: 2 men charged with plotting terror attacks

US government: 2 men charged with plotting terror attacks”

- A Dearborn man has been arrested after authorities say he received Hezbollah training in bomb-making, and that he gathered intelligence around the world in support of attack-planning efforts.

The Department of Justice has announced terrorism charges against two USA men tied to Hezbollah who had been plotting attacks against Americans and Israelis in the US and Panama.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese group that has been on the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997.

The charges were unsealed in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, one week after federal agents raided a Dearborn home in what they described as an operation involving national security.

O'Neill noted that Kourani, who was born in Lebanon, received sophisticated military training overseas on at least two occasions, including in the use of a rocket propelled grenade.

The federal government says he conducted "pre-operational surveillance" of potential military and intelligence targets in NY.

The FBI says Kourani began attending Hezbollah training programs at the age of 16.

The cases are United States v. Kourani, No. 17-mj-4151, and United States v. El Debek, No. 17-mj-4154, in the US District Court for the Southern District of NY.

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Officials stated that the two men did not have a specific plan, but they looked for targets. Each could receive up to 20 years in prison if convicted. El Debek received training in basic military tactics, the handling of various weapons, surveillance and counter-surveillance techniques, and the creation and handling of explosives and explosive devices. That terror attack, the government said, was carried out by one of el Debek's relatives.

Ali Kourani was arrested in the Bronx, while Samer El Debek was arrested in MI. El Debek was arraigned in Manhattan federal court on June 5.

Samer El Debek is accused to receiving extensive military training from Hezbollah, through which he became a sophisticated bomb-maker, according to the Department of Justice. The jihadi outfit was founded in 1985 in Lebanon as a military arm to expand Iran's caliphatist ideology, and also to conduct attacks against the state of Israel.

The two men are accused of working with the Islamic Jihad arm of the group Hezbollah.

In Panana, his role was to identify weaknesses in the Panama Canal and locate the USA and Israeli embassies and also find places were explosive precursors could be purchased.

Because of that alleged conduct, one of eight counts Kourani is facing is "unlawful procurement of citizenship or naturalization to facilitate an act of worldwide terrorism". El Debek is accused of using his USA passport to enter and leave Thailand, on instruction from Hezbollah, so he could travel from Malaysia to Thailand without obtaining a visa. They said he lawfully entered the USA in 2003, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering in 2009 and a master's in business administration in 2013.

Police have arrested two men for providing support to Hezbollah. Upon his return from Panama, El Debek's IJO handlers asked him for photographs of the U.S. Embassy there and details about its security procedures.

Authorities said that from late 2014 until February, al-Debek conducted over 250 Facebook searches with words including "martyrs of the holy defense", "martyrs of Islamic resistance" and "martyrs of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon".



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