Hizballah Sleeper Agent Convicted in Manhattan Federal Court

On May 16, a jury returned a guilty verdict against Ali Kourani on terrorism charges, along with sanctions and immigration offenses, for his role within Hizballah’s external operations component. Kourani faces a maximum penalty of life in prison at his sentencing scheduled for late September.

  • The Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), Hizballah’s external terrorism unit responsible for attacks and intelligence gathering, recruited Kourani in 2008. The IJO tasked Kourani with working as a communications handler and provided him with training in tradecraft, weapons, and tactics. Kourani’s actions supported preparations for potential Hizballah attacks against the United States.

  • Evidence at the trial revealed that Kourani searched for weapons suppliers for potential attacks and targeted individuals to carry out violence. Additionally, Kourani collected information and conducted surveillance on possible targets in the United States, which included airports and US military and law enforcement facilities in New York City.

  • After a trip to Lebanon in 2016, Kourani decided to cooperate with law enforcement with the hope of becoming an informant after claiming that members of Hizballah fired bullets at his family’s home. Kourani met with law enforcement on five occasions, which amounted to five separate confessions.

For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.