Lebanese convicted of financing Hezbollah in US returns home

Supporters of the Lebanese Shiite movements Hezbollah and Amal ride motorbikes as they protest a statement made by the US ambassador criticising the former group on June 28, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 08 July 2020

Lebanese convicted of financing Hezbollah in US returns home

  • Kassim Tajideen was sentenced last year in a federal court in Washington
  • There was no immediate comment from US or Lebanese officials on his early release

BEIRUT: A Lebanese businessman serving a five-year sentence in the United States for providing millions of dollars to the militant Hezbollah group arrived Wednesday in Beirut after his early release, local media reported.
Kassim Tajideen was sentenced last year in a federal court in Washington for his role in a money laundering conspiracy aimed at evading US sanctions. He was arrested in Morocco and extradited to the US in 2017, where he was he was charged with laundering money for Hezbollah.
There was no immediate comment from US or Lebanese officials on his early release.
Lebanon’ National News Agency reported Tajideen’s arrival. A local Lebanese TV station, LBC, broadcast a video taken with a mobile phone of his arrival at the Beirut airport. He stepped out of small jet, wearing a face mask as a necessary coronavirus precaution. The video shows a man rushing toward Tajideen, hugging him and stooping down to Tajideen’s feet in celebration of his release.
A Washington federal judge had ordered the release of Tajideen in May. The National, an English language newspaper in eh United Arab Emirates, said the 64-year-old Tajideen was granted compassionate release due to health conditions and fears of coronavirus infections in prison. The US Department of Justice had contested the release.
Tajideen was accused of conspiring with at least five other people to conduct over $50 million in transactions with US businesses, in violation of sanctions that barred him from doing business with US nationals and companies because of his support for Hezbollah. Washington has designated the Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist group.
Tajideen pleaded guilty last December and agreed to forfeit $50 million.
In March, a Lebanese military tribunal ordered the release of a Lebanese-American held in the country for nearly six months on charges of working for an Israeli-backed militia two decades ago. Amer Fakhoury’s release raised speculation that Tajideen may be granted early release in return.
Fakhoury, 57, who had faced decades-old murder and torture charges in Lebanon, became a US citizen last year, and is now a restaurant owner in Dover, New Hampshire. US officials had called for imposing sanctions on Lebanon to pressure Beirut to release him..


Lebanon says 9 Daesh-linked suspects killed in hunt for ‘terrorists’

Updated 27 September 2020

Lebanon says 9 Daesh-linked suspects killed in hunt for ‘terrorists’

  • Saturday’s operation came more than a month after the army and security forces launched a manhunt for suspects in the August 21
  • Police intelligence units raided a house in the northern region of Wadi Khaled

BEIRUT: Lebanese police have killed nine suspected members of the Daesh group in the hunt for “terrorists” linked to several deadly attacks, including on soldiers, a security source said Sunday.
Saturday’s operation came more than a month after the army and security forces launched a manhunt for suspects in the August 21 killing of two municipal policemen and the son of the mayor of the northern village of Kaftoun.
Police intelligence units raided a house in the northern region of Wadi Khaled where “suspects linked to the Daesh” had been holed up, “killing all the terrorists inside,” the Internal Security Forces (ISF) said in a statement.
A security source said “at least nine members of the group were killed.”
But the source said the death toll could rise as more bodies could be buried under the rubble of the house, part of which was blown up during the police operation.
The ISF statement said the “terrorist cell” was made up of more than 15 suspects. It added that three had been arrested in previous raids.
Following the August murders in Kaftoun, the army and police launched operations to track down the assailants.
On September 14, the army said four soldiers were killed while attempting to arrest suspected “terrorist” Khaled Al-Tallawi at his north Lebanon home, though he was eventually shot dead.
Meanwhile, two Lebanese soldiers were killed overnight in an attack on an army post in the locality of Arman-Minyeh, also in the north of the country, the army said Sunday.
“Two soldiers were killed, in addition to one terrorist,” it said in a statement.
An attacker “riding a motorbike tried to enter the army post, and army members confronted him, killing him instantly,” it added.
They found grenades and an explosives belt on him, the last of which it said “he had intended to detonate inside the post.”
Wadi Khaled and the Arman-Miniyeh region are near second city Tripoli, which has been rocked by violence involving Islamists over the years, including as part of the fallout from the conflict in Syria.