MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey man has been arrested and is facing terrorism charges – including planning attacks in New York City and other cities for Hezbollah.
The Department of Justice says Alexei Saab of Morristown was allegedly trained by the terror organization in bomb-making and intelligence-gathering which he used to scout potential targets in New York and Istanbul, Turkey.
Authorities allege the 42-year-old has been working with Hezbollah – a Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon – since 1996.
The group was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department in 1997.
According to court documents, Saab also goes by the name “Ali Hassan Saab” and is a naturalized U.S. citizen who came from Lebanon in 2000.
“Saab surveilled dozens of 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-and provided detailed information on these locations,” federal officials said in a statement Thursday.
The nine-count indictment accuses the alleged terror operative of sending all this information to Hezbollah’s External Terrorist Operations Component – which is also known as the Islamic Jihad Organization by U.S.
“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,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said in the statement.
“This case sends a clear message of deterrence to all those who plot to promote violence here in the U.S. and abroad.”
Stay with CBS New York for the latest on this developing story