A Dearborn Heights man who allegedly plotted to travel to Syria “to fight alongside Hezbollah,” a well-known global terrorist organization linked to numerous attacks, is in federal custody on terrorism charges.
Mohammad Haffan Hamdan, 22, was arrested Sunday night at the Detroit Metro Airport, the Detroit Free Press reports. Hamdan cleared a security checkpoint, but was arrested before he could board an Air France flight bound for Paris and then Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based.
A Lebanese national, Hamdan came to the United States in 2007. He is a permanent resident and applied for citizenship in November, the newspaper said.
The FBI learned of his plans to travel to Syria from a confidential informant several months ago. Hamdan reportedly told the informant that he had previously been involved with and had received military training from Hezbollah, starting at an early age and included using various weapons systems.
According to the complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, Hamdan told the informant he wanted to become active in the terrorist organization, which is tied to terrorist attacks dating back more than three decades. In 1983, Hezbollah took responsibility for suicide bombings at U.S. embassies and American and French barracks in Beirut, killing more than 258 Americans.
He said would be paid $500 to $1,000 a month to join Hezbollah in Syria, according to court documents.
The FBI said it recorded a conversation between Hamdan and the informant in which the defendant said, “I am leaving behind a family ... my uncle’s tried to convince me (not to go) ... but this is my decision and no one else’s ...”
Hamdan’s sister reportedly learned of her brother’s plan and hid his passport in hopes that would deter him. The government said that he reported to Dearborn Heights police on March 4 that his passport had been stolen and requested a temporary passport.When he was arrested Sunday, Hamdan said he was trveling to Lebanon to hve some dental work done and denied involvement with Hezbollah.