Politics

Hezbollah Operative Scoped Out Times Square, Statue Of Liberty For Possible Terrorist Attacks, Prosecutors Say

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that they have charged a New Jersey man over his support of Hezbollah, a militant Islamist group.

The DOJ announced a nine-count indictment against 42-year-old Alex Saab, alleging that Saab had scoped out iconic New York City landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and Times Square, for a terrorist attack. (RELATED: Ilhan Omar Tells Trump To Avoid War With Iran)

“Saab served as an operative of Hizballah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement. “Such covert activities conducted on U.S. soil are a clear threat to our national security and I applaud the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation and prosecution.”

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah gesture as they hold Hezbollah flags in Marjayoun, Lebanon May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher/File Photo - RC1D28D9CCC0

Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah gesture as they hold Hezbollah flags in Marjayoun, Lebanon May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher/File Photo

Saab is a naturalized citizen, but U.S. attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said that his “true allegiance was to Hizballah, the terrorist organization responsible for decades of terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds, including U.S. citizens and military personnel.”

Hezbollah is considered one of the largest and most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world, and has been repeatedly hit by the U.S. with sanctions. Hezbollah receives the vast majority of its funding from Iran, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. (RELATED: U.S. To Send 1000 Troops To Middle East To Counter Iran Threat)

The press release states that Saab became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2008, roughly a decade after he began training with the terrorist organization.