Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

2 U.S. Men Charged With Finding Israeli And American Targets For Hezbollah

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Two men living in the U.S. have been charged for working for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

A release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan on Thursday said Ali Kourani, 32, and Samer El Debek, 37, were arrested on June 1 for providing material support to and receiving military training from the Lebanese militia, which is designated by the United States as a terrorist group.

Kourani allegedly identified possible weapons suppliers in the United States and obtained military training in Lebanon. He also identified Israeli army personnel in the United States and cased U.S. airports, military bases and police stations, it said.

El Debek was also charged with being trained by Hezbollah. El Debek allegedly traveled to Panama in 2011, where his assignment included “locating the U.S. and Israeli Embassies, casing security procedures at the Panama Canal and the Israeli Embassy, and locating hardware stores where explosive precursors could be purchased.”

A year later, El Debek returned to Panama allegedly to identify “areas of weakness and construction at the Panama Canal, as well as provide information about how close someone could get to a ship passing through the Canal.”

Each man was charged with an array of crimes, which could bring sentences of between five and 20 years each.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.