The US Department of Justice indicted on Friday a New Jersey man on nine federal charges in connection with the Hezbollah party.
The Department said that Alexei Saab, also known as Ali Hassan Saab or Alex Saab, carried out surveillance of possible target locations for the Lebanon-based party.
He holds a dual Lebanese-American nationality.
Saab, 42, from Morristown, monitored dozens of locations in New York City, including the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and UN headquarters, prosecutors said.
The accused man scouted bridges, tunnels and airports, specially focusing on “the structural weaknesses of locations he surveilled in order to determine how a future attack could case the most destruction.”
The DoJ also said Saab provided detailed information on these locations, including photographs.
Hezbollah is designated as a terrorist organization by the US.
“As a member of the Hezbollah component that coordinates external terrorist attack planning, Alexei Saab allegedly used his training to scout possible targets throughout the US,” US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said.
He added that “even though Saab was a naturalized American citizen, his true allegiance was to Hezbollah, the terrorist organization responsible for decades of terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds, including US citizens and military personnel.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. stated that Saab began his training with Hezbollah operatives overseas and unveiled multiple locations in major cities.
The announcement highlights the persistent efforts of a sophisticated international terrorist organization to scout targets at home and abroad, identifying vulnerabilities and gathering essential details useful for a future attack, he said.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah renewed on Friday the threats launched by Iranian officials against Saudi Arabia and Gulf states.
He warned Saudi Arabia that Iran would destroy it if it started a war in the region.
“Don’t gamble on a war with Iran,” he said in a speech broadcast on the party’s al-Manar television. “It will destroy you. Your house is made of glass as is your economy.”