New York man convicted of 'spying for Hezbollah'

Prosecutors said Ali Kourani received advanced combat training by the Lebanese militant group - and even staked out terror targets in the US


A New York man has been convicted for providing support to Hezbollah by helping the terror group prepare attacks in the city.

Ali Kourani, 34, could face life behind bars after a Manhattan federal court jury found him guilty after a week-long trial, the New York Post reports.

He will be sentenced on September 27.

Lawyer Geoffrey S Berman said Kourani staked out potential targets in New York City, including John F Kennedy Airport, a Secret Service facility and an FBI building.

He said: “Ali Kourani was recruited, trained, and deployed by Hezbollah's Islamic Jihad Organisation to plan and execute acts of terrorism in the United States.

“Kourani's chilling mission was to help procure weapons and gather intelligence about potential targets in the U.S. for future Hezbollah terrorist attacks.”

It is believed Kourani, who was born in Lebanon, emigrated to the US in 2003, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and a master’s in business administration.

Prosecutors said he was recruited by Hezbollah – which is designated as a terrorist organisation in the US – after a property belonging to his family was destroyed in the 2006 Lebanon war.

Kourani reportedly received advanced military training overseas “at least twice”.

He was also convicted on separate charges relating to terrorism and immigration offences.

Alexei Schact, Kourani’s lawyer, confirmed that he intended to appeal the verdict, on the grounds that his statements to the FBI, which were used as evidence, were made involuntarily and in the false belief they would be recorded confidentially.

Mr Schact said: “Given the fact the judge allowed in the statements, we were not surprised at the verdict.”

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