A jury in New York today convicted Ali Kourani in an Islamic terrorism case. Kourani scouted possible terrorism targets in the US and Panama for the Iranian-backed organization Hezbollah. Ali Kouraniand co-religionist Samer el Debek fromDearborn, Michigan were arrested together.
The two men, both of whom are naturalized US citizens, were charged with weapons-related crimes as well as multiple counts of providing material support for a terrorist organization, according to NBC News.
They are also believed to have received military training from Hezbollah, a Shi’ite Muslim group based in Lebanon. Kourani conducted ‘pre-operational surveillance’ of potential military and intelligence targets in New York. The targets included LaGuardia Airport and the FBI’s New York headquarters.
The government says that Kourani attended Hezbollah training camps in Lebanon when he was 16 years old.
Associated Press May 16, 2019:
NEW YORK (AP) — A New Yorker was convicted Thursday of providing material support to Hezbollah by seeking targets in New York City for terrorist attacks.
NEW YORK – A New Yorker has been convicted of providing material support to Hezbollah.
A jury returned its verdict Thursday against Ali Kourani in Manhattan federal court.
Kourani could face life in prison at a sentencing scheduled for September.
The Bronx man has been held without bail since his June 2017 arrest.
Prosecutors say Kourani tried to support Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad organization.
They say Kourani surveilled American targets, including military and law enforcement facilities in New York City.
Authorities say the Lebanon-born Kourani received sophisticated military training overseas at least twice, including in 2000 at age 16. They say he was trained in the use of a rocket propelled grenade.
Authorities say he came to the U.S. legally in 2003, eventually earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
His lawyer says he’ll appeal.