(CNSNews.com) – A Lebanese-born man charged in New York on suspicion of scouting potential U.S. and Israeli targets for the Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah became a naturalized American citizen after declaring to authorities that he had no associations with terrorists, according to a criminal complaint.
Acting on instructions from his Hezbollah handler, Ali Kourani of the Bronx – who had received weapons training in Lebanon in 2000 and was recruited in 2008 into what he described as the “black ops” component of the organization – duly obtained citizenship and a U.S. passport in 2009, papers before a Manhattan federal court show.
Just two years later, he was back in Lebanon, receiving more instruction from the terrorist group, including training in the use of rocket-propelled grenades, an AK-47 assault rifle, a Russian-made machine gun, and other firearms.
And once back in the U.S., Kourani was allegedly tasked by his handler to carry out surveillance on facilities in Manhattan, including FBI offices, a U.S. National Guard facility and a U.S. Army armory, as well as U.S. Secret Service building in Brooklyn.
He also collected and provided to his handler detailed information on security and other matters at JFK airport and “an international airport in another country,” according to the complaint.
Israelis were another surveillance target. Kourani was allegedly asked to provide information on individuals in the U.S. associated with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
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