A 42-year-old man from Morristown, New Jersey was charged Thursday by the department of justice for “offenses related to his support” for the militant group Hezbollah that included scouting locations across New York City, according to the DOJ.
Alex Saab — also known as “Rachid” — faces nine counts on terrorist activities as well as separate marriage fraud offenses. Saab is accused of serving as an operative for Hezbollah and conducting surveillance of “possible target locations” to help them potentially prepare for future attacks in America.
“I would like to thank the efforts of the investigators and our Counter-Terrorism law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly to assemble the case that prevents this individual from caring out his plans,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “This case sends a clear message of deterrence to all those who plot to promote violence here in the US and abroad.”
The indictment accuses Saab, a naturalized American citizen, of joining Hezbollah in 1996 and attending training as early as 1999. In 2000, he legally entered the United States using a Lebanese passport, applying for American citizenship in 2005 and becoming one in 2008.
Authorities allege that, while living in America, Saab continued to receive military training in Lebanon. He’s accused of scouting locations in New York City — including the United Nations headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and local airports, tunnels and bridges.
Saab is charged with providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization; conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization and several other terror-related charges. Many of them carry a maximum sentence of anywhere from 5-25 years in prison.