Two U.S. citizens are charged with scouting possible targets in New York and elsewhere for terrorist attacks by the Iranian-linked terrorist group Hezbollah, according to courts documents made public on Thursday.
Ali Kourani, 32, of New York, and Samer el Debek, 37, of Dearborn, Michigan, were arrested last week on weapons-related charges and multiple counts of providing material support for a terrorist organization and receiving military training from a terrorist organization, according to the documents, which were unsealed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The FBI said in charging documents that no specific plot was underway but that Kourani and el Debek conducted extensive “pre-operational surveillance” to assess security vulnerabilities at the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Panama, as well as potential military and intelligence targets in New York.
Both men, who are naturalized U.S. citizens, appeared in court in the past week and could face life in prison if convicted, U.S. officials said.
Kourani was born in Lebanon and legally entered the United States in 2003, prosecutors said. He is accused of conducting surveillance of potential military and intelligence targets in New York.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Alex Johnson