An American citizen of Lebanese origin was charged on Thursday by an American court, over claims of seeking American targets for Hezbollah to carry out terror attacks, the US Justice Department disclosed.
The man, who goes by the names of Ali Hassan Saab, Alexei Saab or Rachid, is 42-years-old. Besides being charged with having connections to Hezbollah, he was also charged over marriage-fraud offenses.
The Department of Justice announced today that Alexei Saab of Morristown, New Jersey, also known as Ali Hassan Saab, Alex Saab or Rachid, was charged in a nine-count indictment for offenses relating to his support of Hezbollah and separate marriage-fraud offenses. The case is assigned to US District Judge, Paul G. Gardephe.
“According to the allegations, while living in the United States, Saab served as an operative of Hezbollah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations in order to help the foreign terrorist organisation prepare for potential future attacks against the United States,” disclosed Assistant Attorney General for National Security, John C. Demers.
He added “such covert activities conducted on US soil are a clear threat to our national security and I applaud the agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation and prosecution.”
US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated, “as a member of the Hezbollah component that coordinates external terrorist attack planning, Alexei Saab allegedly used his training to scout possible targets throughout the US.”
He elaborated that “even though Saab was a naturalised American citizen, his true allegiance was to Hezbollah, the terrorist organisation responsible for decades of terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds, including US citizens and military personnel. Thankfully, Saab is now in federal custody, and faces significant prison time for his alleged crimes.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge, William F. Sweeney, confirmed “as alleged, Saab began his training with Hezbollah operatives overseas and, while living in the US, surveyed multiple locations in major cities.”
He continued “today’s announcement highlights the persistent efforts of a sophisticated international terrorist organisation to scout targets at home and abroad, identifying vulnerabilities, and gathering essential details useful for a future attack.”