A New Jersey man, who scouted the Statue of Liberty and other U.S. landmarks for terror attacks by Hezbollah, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
May 24 (UPI) — A New Jersey man, who scouted U.S. landmarks for terror attacks and received military-type training from Hezbollah, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Alexei Saab, 46, who also goes by the names of Ali Hassan Saab and Alex Saab, was sentenced for his role with Hezbollah, as well as marriage fraud and making false statements, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Saab, who was convicted in May of 2022, will also be required to serve three years of supervised release, following his prison term.
According to court documents, Saab joined Hezbollah in 1996 and received his first Hezbollah military-type training in 1999. Hezbollah, which is a Lebanon-based Shia Islamic organization with terrorist components, trained Saab on the use of firearms, including an AK-47, an M16 rifle, a pistol and grenades.
In 2000, Saab received extensive training in the Islamic Jihad Organization’s tradecraft, weapons and military tactic, which included how to detonate bombs and other explosive devices, before moving to the United States, court documents said. Before he was arrested in 2019, the FBI determined through interviews that Saab was able to diagram multiple improvised explosive devices, which would work if constructed.
Authorities said Saab obtained his U.S. citizenship in 2008 after falsely claiming he had never been a member of a terrorist organization.
While living in the United States, Saab worked as a software engineer and remained an IJO operative. He continued to receive military training in Lebanon, according to court documents, while completing operations that included taking photos and exposing structural weaknesses for dozens of locations in New York City including the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and the Empire State Building, as well as local airports, tunnels and bridges in Boston and Washington, D.C.
Court documents show Saab was ordered by Hezbollah to open a front company to obtain fertilizer for explosives. He is also accused of conducting surveillance in Istanbul and Turkey.
In 2012, Saab received $20,000 for entering into a fraudulent marriage to help a woman apply for her U.S. citizenship, court documents said. Under penalty of perjury, Saab falsely told authorities that the marriage was not to facilitate her immigration.
During his sentencing this week, the judge acknowledged Saab’s time at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, since being arrested and charged in 2019, and reduced his sentence from the recommended 15 years. » …