The criminal complaint against Kourani alleges that in 2008 he joined the Islamic Jihad Organization, a component of Hezbollah responsible for its terrorist and intelligence activities outside of Lebanon, after he attended a Hezbollah-sponsored weapons-training program in 2000 at the age of 16.
Kourani became a naturalized citizen in April 2009, after claiming on his application for naturalization that he was not affiliated with any terrorist organization, a crime which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Kourani engaged in extensive surveillance, according to the complaint against him. The complaint alleges that the surveillance included identifying people associated with the Israel Defense Forces, gathering information about security at U.S. airports, and surveilling U.S. law enforcement and military sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
El Debek is also a naturalized American citizen, and the complaint against him alleges that he was recruited to Hezbollah in late 2007 or early 2008. The complaint claims that he began receiving a salary from Hezbollah shortly afterward, and payments continued through 2015.
El Debek is believed to have conducted missions for Hezbollah in Panama and Thailand. In 2011, he traveled to Panama, where he is thought to have assessed security at the Panama Canal and Israeli Embassy and located places to buy explosive precursors.
El Debek wrote a post on Facebook before his trip stating, “Do not make peace or share food with those who killed your people.”
Both men face a number of charges, which include providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization; receiving military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization; possessing, carrying, and using firearms and destructive devices during and in relation to crimes of violence; and making and receiving a contribution of funds, goods, and services to and from Hezbollah.