Yesterday, a New Jersey native was sentenced to 12 years in prison for terrorist activities as an operative of Hezbollah. He had spied on Israeli soldiers, and planted roadside bombs that severely injured several. Hezbollah notoriously used roadside bombs in the country.
The Justice Department has announced that Alexei Saab, aka Ali Hassan Saab, aka Alex Saab, aka Rachid, 46, was on May 23 sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, for terrorist activities.
Saab joined Hezbollah in 1996. Saab’s first Hezbollah operations occurred in Lebanon, where he was tasked with observing and reporting on the movements of Israeli and Southern Lebanese Army soldiers in Yaroun, Lebanon. Among other things, Saab reported on patrol schedules and formations, procedures at security checkpoints, and the vehicles used by soldiers. Saab also, alongside his brother, planted an improvised explosive device that detonated and hit Israeli soldiers, seriously injuring at least one.
In 2003, Saab attempted to murder a man he later understood to be a suspected Israeli spy. Saab pointed a firearm at the individual at close range and pulled the trigger twice, but the firearm did not fire. Saab also conducted surveillance in Istanbul, Turkey, and elsewhere.
Hezbollah is a Lebanon-based Shia Islamic organization with political, social and terrorist components. Hezbollah was founded in the 1980s with support from Iran after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and its mission includes establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state in Lebanon. Since Hezbollah’s formation, the organization has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds, including U.S. citizens and military personnel. In 1997, the U.S. Department of State designated Hezbollah a Foreign Terrorist Organization, pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and it remains so designated today. In 2001, pursuant to Executive Order 13224, the U.S. Department of Treasury designated Hezbollah a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity. In 2010, State Department officials described Hezbollah as the most technically capable terrorist group in the world and a continued security threat to the United States.
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