Ali Kourani, 35, was placed on U.S. soil to prepare attacks in the nation. Additionally, Kourani was working to garner weapons suppliers, recruit terrorists, and collect intelligence on potential targets. He was born in Lebanon and began terrorist training at the age of 16, according to the press release.
“Ali Kourani was recruited, trained, and deployed by (Hezbollah’s) Islamic Jihad Organization to plan and execute acts of terrorism around New York City. After spending years conducting surveillance on the City’s critical infrastructure, federal buildings, international airports, and even daycare centers, he is now the first Islamic Jihad Organization operative to be convicted and sentenced for his crimes against the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York.
“The lengthy prison term imposed today on Kourani sends an important message to Hizballah and the Islamic Jihad Organization: If you are caught planning harm against this City and its residents, you will face justice and be held accountable,” Berman added.
The U.S. officially designated Hezbollah a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997 and has since called Lebanon a “safe haven” for its terroristic operations.
Further, the terrorist group receives $700 million per year from Iran, according to the State Department’s annual report on terrorism. Concern has been mounting over $100 million in U.S. security aid to Lebanon unexplainably held on Oct. 31, and first reported by Reuters. The aid was released on Monday.