Hizballah and Mexico

Terence Jeffery:

"Politicians serious about preventing another Sept. 11 should listen to the leader of Hizballah, and then read an indictment unsealed this month in Detroit.


" 'Kourani was a member, fighter, recruiter and fundraiser for Hizballah,' said the indictment. 'Operating at first from Lebanon and later in the United States, Kourani was a dedicated member of Hizballah who received specialized training in radical Shiite fundamentalism, weaponry, spy craft, and counterintelligence in Lebanon and Iran.'

" 'Kourani,' Chadwell added in his statement, 'is charged with conspiring with individuals at the highest levels of the terrorist organization, including one of his brothers who is the Hizballah chief of military security for southern Lebanon.'

"Kourani got to America, the prosecutors allege, with the help of a Mexican official.

" 'On approximately Feb. 4, 2001, Kourani surreptitiously entered the United States by sneaking across the U.S./Mexico border in the trunk of a car,' wrote Chadwell. 'He reached Mexico by paying $3,000 used to bribe an official in the Mexican Consulate in Beirut, Lebanon, to give him a Mexican visa.'


"Kourani has pleaded not guilty to providing material support to Hizballah. I asked his attorney, Nabih Ayad, about the claim in the indictment that Kourani was a member, fighter, recruiter and fundraiser for Hizballah. 'He denies all that,' said Ayad. Kourani also contests the government's assertion that he bought a Mexican visa for $3,000 in Beirut. 'My client told me specifically,' said Ayad, 'that he got it legitimately through the Mexican consulate.' "


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