WASHINGTON (JTA) – Two men living in the U.S. have been charged for working for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
A release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan on Thursday said Ali Kourani, 32, and Samer El Debek, 37, were arrested on June 1 for providing material support to and receiving military training from the Lebanese militia, which is designated by the United States as a terrorist group.
Kourani, the release said, identified possible weapons suppliers in the United States and obtained military training in Lebanon. He also identified Israeli army personnel in the United States and surveilled U.S. airports, military bases and police stations, it said.
El Debek was also charged with being trained by Hezbollah. In 2011, the release said, El Debek traveled to Panama where his assignment included “locating the U.S. and Israeli Embassies, casing security procedures at the Panama Canal and the Israeli Embassy, and locating hardware stores where explosive precursors could be purchased.”
A year later, El Debek returned to Panama allegedly to identify “areas of weakness and construction at the Panama Canal, as well as provide information about how close someone could get to a ship passing through the Canal.”
Each man was charged with an array of crimes, which could bring sentences of between five and 20 years each.
Kourani was arrested in the Bronx and El Debek was arrested in Livonia, Michigan. Each was subsequently charged in federal court in Manhattan.