Hizbullah operative Ali Kourani will be jailed for 40 years for planning attacks in New York City, the US Justice Department announced on Wednesday. Kourani was convicted of involvement in a designated terrorist organization and of helping the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy to circumvent international sanctions. According to federal prosecutors, Kourani was recruited by Hizbullah following the 2006 war with Israel and while he was living in the US. He then returned to Lebanon, where he underwent training and subsequently spent years conducting surveillance on critical US infrastructure and federal buildings. Kourani is the first member of Hizbullah’s Islamic Jihad Organization – which is responsible for the terror group’s activities abroad – to be sentenced for crimes committed in the United States. “Ali Kourani’s arrest was a reminder to us all that New York City and its surrounding areas remain primary targets for those looking to conduct a violent attack against our way of life,” FBI assistant director William F. Sweeney Jr. said. Since its inception in 1982, Hizbullah has perpetrated multiple attacks on US assets, most notably the following year’s bombing of barracks in Beirut that housed members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon. The attack killed 241 American and 58 French military personnel, as well as six civilians. US President Donald Trump has imposed additional sanctions on Hizbullah as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign against the Iranian regime. Despite the crackdown, Hizbullah remains Lebanon’s most powerful military force and has played an active role in perpetuating the carnage in Syria in support of the Assad regime.
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