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U.S. Monitoring Hizbullah Activity in Wake of Terror Attacks

U.S. says it's closely monitoring Hizbullah activities, working with Jewish organizations in wake of recent attacks.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/16/2012, 7:17 AM

In the wake of the recent terror attacks against Israeli targets in India, Georgia and Thailand, the U.S. is closely monitoring the activities of the Iran-linked Hizbullah terror group, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers that the Homeland Security Department has contacted Jewish organizations around the country and is working with the FBI and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Napolitano stressed, however, that there is no specific or credible threat against any organization or target in the United States.

She noted the threat from Hizbullah remains a “critical situation worth watching,” AP reported.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that law enforcement officials are concerned Iran or its surrogates could mount attacks against Jewish targets inside the United States, but noted as well that there is no specific information that any plots are in the works.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, sought to calm down American Jewish communities and told CNN that “there is no call for panic.”

“We are working with local communities and law enforcement at local and federal levels to boost security around Jewish institutions and educate the community,” Hoenlein said, explaining there is heightened concern because of recent world events.

Last week, Napolitano and other security officials assured leaders in the American Jewish community that there is no concrete threat to Jewish targets in the U.S.

It was previously reported that Israel has placed its consulates and embassies around the world on high alert, and has warned Jewish institutions in North America, South America, and Europe, to be on guard – because Iran may be planning terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets.

Iran has been blamed for the terror attack in New Delhi this week, as well as the foiled attacks in Georgia and Thailand. Israelis were targeted in all three attacks. However, it has denied involvement in the attacks. Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Tuesday that any of Israel’s “many enemies in various parts of the world” could have been behind the terror attacks.

American prosecutors recently charged that several Lebanese financial institutions with ties to Hizbullah were part of a massive scheme that funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal proceeds through the United States.

A criminal complaint in a New York federal court targeted the Lebanese Canadian Bank and two Lebanon-based houses, the Hassan Ayash Exchange Company and Ellissa Holding, in the scheme to launder profits from narcotics dealing and other criminal activities.

The U.S. Attorney’s office is alleging that “funds were wired from Lebanon to the United States to buy used cars, which were then transported to West Africa.”

U.S. authorities have also announced the indictment of alleged international drug dealer Ayman Joumaa, who is reportedly tied to the Hassan Ayash and Ellissa companies.

Joumaa is accused of using the money laundering scheme for funds made in importing cocaine from Mexico to the United States and is suspected of having links to Hizbullah and the powerful Zeta Mexican drug cartel.