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Friday, January 16, 2004

Hezbollah "fighter, recruiter and fundraiser" charged

in Detroit, MICHIGAN, U.S.A.
Reuters: Federal officials charged a Detroit-area man on Thursday with supplying material support and resources to Lebanon's Hizbollah, saying the move was a breakthrough in efforts toward "choking the funding that supports terrorism."

Jeffrey Collins, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, identified the man as Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, who has been in custody since last year on immigration charges. Collins said Kourani was a "fighter, recruiter and fund-raiser for Hizbollah," and the brother of its chief of military security for southern Lebanon.

He entered the United States illegally from Mexico about three years ago, Collins said, adding that he continued his "substantial" fund-raising for Hizbollah after taking up residence in Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to a large Arab community.

Kourani pleaded not guilty in federal court later Thursday, speaking through an interpreter.

Kourani faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for "conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization," Collins said.
Kourani received training in weaponry, spy craft and counterintelligence in Lebanon and Iran. According to the Detroit News, he is the fifth person in Michigan charged with providing material support to terrorists.