The fiery end to Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad Airport set off a global alarm. The State Department urged US Citizens to leave Iraq immediately after Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, telegraphed further action claiming “harsh revenge awaits the criminals” involved. Westerners are urged to leave and/or be aware of anywhere Hezbollah has stretched its tentacles, which is as far-flung as North and South America to Asia.
A 2019 Foreign Policy article addressing the presence of Hezbollah agents operating in the United States wrote, “Following Kourani and Debek’s arrests, the director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center said in October 2017, ‘It’s our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook.'”
Ali Kourani and Samer el Debek were arrested in 2017 in New York and Michigan, and charged with providing material support to Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Organization. The criminal complaint against Kourani described his IJO role as that of a “sleeper.” He and other undercover operatives were tasked to “maintain ostensibly normal lives but could be activated and tasked with conducting IJO operations,” the complaint said.
According to the complaint, Kourani acquired weapons in the United States to bolster IJO operations, scouted information about security weaknesses at New York airports and gathered surveillance on numerous US military and law enforcement buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
According to the Justice Department, Debek traveled to Panama twice for Hezbollah, where he located the US and Israeli embassies, gathered information about the security operations and weakness of the construction of the Panama Canal and pinpointed hardware stores where explosive materials could be bought, according to the Justice Department. Between 2008 and 2014, Debek traveled from the United States to Lebanon to receive military training from Hezbollah where he was trained in “the creation and handling of explosives and explosive devices.”
Hezbollah has been operating with in the United States since at least the early nineties when Hezbollah cell leader Youssef Hammoud used a forged travel visa to enter New York City. Hammoud relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. While working at a pizza shop, Hammoud had other cell members joined him.
As a result, the U.S. Operation Smokescreen was launched by the ATF, BATF, FBI Due to a cigarette trafficking scam Hammoud ran in order to create funds in violation of federal law to buy equipment that was sent back to Hezbollah in the middle East. This ended back in 2002.
Recently, former CIA operations officer Sam Faddis told the DailyMail that “Hezbollah sleeper cells were hiding in the U.S. and potentially had targets in its sights. ‘It is more than possible that Hezbollah has sleeper cells in the United States ready to strike. Based on what we know we must assume they do and that they can hit targets on U.S. soil at anytime without warning.'”
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