Lebanese Migrant Caught at U.S. Border Admitted to Hezbollah Ties, Planned Bombing in New York

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Lebanese Migrant Caught at U.S. Border Admitted to Hezbollah Ties, Planned Bombing in New York

An illegal migrant from Lebanon was apprehended while attempting to cross the U.S. border near El Paso, Texas, last week. The 22-year-old, identified as Basel Bassel Ebbadi, reportedly confessed to being a member of Hezbollah and expressed intentions to “make a bomb” upon reaching New York, according to a report by the New York Post.

Ebbadi’s admission came during questioning by border agents after his arrest. He disclosed that he had received seven years of training with Hezbollah, during which time he also served as an active member responsible for guarding weapons for an additional four years. His training focused on “jihad” and “killing people that were not Muslim,” as he allegedly told investigators.

Despite his involvement with the group, Ebbadi expressed a desire to leave Hezbollah because he “didn’t want to kill people,” but noted that “once you’re in, you can never get out.” Following his apprehension, he was placed into isolation and referred to the Tactical Terrorism Response Team (TTRT) after allegedly making “terroristic threats to personnel.”

Documents obtained by the New York Post indicate that Ebbadi is slated for deportation from the U.S., although the destination country remains undisclosed.

The incident underscores ongoing concerns about border security, with reports indicating a rise in encounters with individuals on terror watchlists. Border agents encountered 98 such individuals in fiscal 2022, a number that rose to 172 in 2023. In the first four months of fiscal 2024, encounters with 59 individuals on the watchlist were reported.

The Biden administration and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have faced criticism from House Republicans over the border security situation. The White House, however, has pointed to its efforts to support bipartisan border legislation as a step toward addressing the crisis.

Customs and Border Protection data for fiscal 2024 shows that border encounters continue to surpass recent highs, with nearly 302,000 encounters in December alone, up from roughly 180,000 in 2022 and 74,000 in December 2021.

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