Targets included JFK airport, a military armory in Harlem and federal building in Lower Manhattan, which houses a day-care center in addition to 7,000 federal employees and 30 agencies. But wait – look at the @NYTimes sympathetic headline. Were those of us working in defense of freedom, putting our lives on the line, ever given such respect and deference?
Ali Kourani, 34, of the Bronx, New York, was convicted of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization,
“While living in the United States, Kourani served as an operative of Hizballah in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “The evidence at trial showed that Kourani searched for suppliers who could provide weapons for such attacks, identified people who could be recruited or targeted for violence, and gathered information about and conducted surveillance of potential targets within our country. Such covert activities conducted on U.S. 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.”
“Ali Kourani was recruited, trained and deployed by Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization to plan and execute acts of terrorism in the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Berman. “Kourani’s chilling mission was to help procure weapons and gather intelligence about potential targets in the U.S. for future Hizballah terrorist attacks. Some of the targets Kourani surveilled included JFK Airport and law enforcement facilities in New York City, including the federal building at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan. Today, Kourani has fittingly been convicted for his crimes in a courthouse that stands in the shadow of one of his potential targets.”
Hezbollah member gets 40 years for scouting possible sites for terrorist attacks in New York
By Shayna Jacobs, Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2019 at 7:14 p.m. EST
NEW YORK — A naturalized U.S. citizen who was a member of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison Tuesday for gathering intelligence on potential sites for terrorist attacks in New York City.
Ali Kourani, a 35-year-old native of Lebanon, was the first member of the Islamic Jihad Organization, an arm of Hezbollah, to be convicted and sentenced in the United States, prosecutors said at the hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Kourani was already under investigation when he sought out the FBI in 2017 and offered to work as an informant in support of the bureau’s counterterrorism efforts, but prosecutors said he misled investigators.
A jury convicted Kourani on several terrorism counts in May after an eight-day trial. The court was told he was part of the IJO’s efforts to scout possible vulnerabilities at various sites, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, a military armory in Harlem and the federal building in Lower Manhattan, which houses a day-care center in addition to 7,000 federal employees and 30 agencies.
Kourani also tried to procure weapons and went to China to find chemicals that could be used to make explosives, prosecutors said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Emil Bove argued for what amounts to a life sentence — saying the first sentencing of a Hezbollah member in U.S. courts should make a statement.
“Your voice will be heard today in Lebanon by the leaders of Hezbollah,” he told Judge Alvin Hellerstein. “Your voice will be heard in Iran, [which] is directing IJO operatives.”
At Kourani’s nearly three-hour sentencing, Hellerstein rejected a defense argument that Kourani had committed no acts of violence and no information he gathered was used in a terrorist attack.
“It’s hard to think of a more serious offense than to engage in terrorism against the United States,” Hellerstein said.
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