New Yorker sentenced to 40 years for supporting Hezbollah

35-year-old convicted of providing material support to Hezbollah sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Ben Ariel ,

Hezbollah supporters
Hezbollah supporters

A New Yorker convicted of providing material support to the Hezbollah terrorist organization by seeking targets in New York City for terrorist attacks was sentenced on Tuesday to 40 years in prison, The Associated Press reported.

Ali Kourani, 35, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein. The Lebanon-born Kourani was convicted in May. He could have faced life in prison.

Prosecutors said Kourani surveilled American targets, including military and law enforcement facilities in New York City.

Authorities said Kourani received sophisticated military training overseas at least twice, including in 2000 at age 16. They say he was trained in the use of a rocket propelled grenade.

He reportedly came to the US legally in 2003, eventually earning bachelor's and master's degrees.

The prosecutor said Kourani was the first operative of the group to be convicted and sentenced for his crimes against the US.

Hezbollah is blacklisted as a terrorist organization in the US, which in recent years has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Hezbollah and officials affiliated with the terror group.

Prosecutors said Kourani was recruited by the terrorist group after a family residence was destroyed in 2006 during the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.