Feds: Hezbollah Operative Scouted NYC Landmarks

September 21, 2019 A New Jersey man was charged on Thursday with providing material support to Hezbollah, an Iranian backed terrorist organization. Authorities say evidence recovered from electronic devices included surveillance of New York City landmarks.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, Alexei Saab, 42, of Morristown — also known as Ali Hassan Saab, Alex Saab, or “Rachid” — was then indicted on nine-counts of providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Saab was arrested on July 9, is currently in federal custody awaiting trial in New York.

Unsealed court documents show that since 2003, Saab has surveilled dozens of locations in New York City—including the United Nations headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Empire State Building, the federal offices at 26 Federal Plaza, and local airports, tunnels, and bridges, including the George Washington Bridge. A video of Fenway Park was recovered from one of Saab’s electronic devices.

Saab, a naturalized citizen since 2008, received bomb making and military training from Hezbollah, and providing other intelligence between 1996 and 2019.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a press statement Thursday:

“According to the allegations, while living in the United States, Saab served as an operative of Hezbollah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States.”

According to the indictment, Saab, an IT worker spent 22 years undercover as a spy for Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.  Since joining Hezbollah in 1996, he allegedly spied on movements of both Israeli and Southern Lebanese Army soldiers.

The indictment also alleges Saab conducted intelligence-gathering in Istanbul, Turkey.

If convicted, the combined charges carry a maximum sentence of 105 years behind bars.

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