Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah is sending operatives into Peru and preparing for attacks, said the director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, Breitbart reported.
Testifying before a Senate committee on threats to national security, the head of the center, Nicholas Rasmussen, also noted the Iranian-funded and armed Hezbollah is active in the U.S. and posed a threat to the homeland.
“In the [U.S.] homeland, FBI’s arrest two months ago of two operatives charged with working on behalf of Hezbollah was a stark reminder of Hezbollah’s continued desire to maintain a global attack infrastructure that poses an enduring threat to our interests,” he said.
The NCTC is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and brings specialists together from federal agencies – including the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Defense – to spearhead national and international counter-terrorism efforts.
In 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration uncovered an enormous operation of Hezbollah, showing how the terror group is funding its efforts and purchases weapons from international drug trafficking.
Over the last number of years, Hezbollah established business relationships and money laundering schemes with the leading drug cartels in South America.
Peru is considered one of the largest countries in South America for the trafficking of cocaine, the majority of which ends up in Europe and the U.S.
According to Michael Braun, a former DEA operations chief, the cocaine trade in America “provides a never-ending source of funding” for Hezbollah’s operations in Syria and around the world.
In addition, Iran is a major backer of Hezbollah, providing up to an estimated $100 million a year to the terrorist organization. Hezbollah militias fight alongside Iranian units in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad. Russia also supports Assad.
In addition to the threat posed by Hezbollah, Rasmussen told the Senate panel, “Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, providing financial aid, advanced weapons and tactics, and direction to militant and terrorist groups across the Middle East, all while it cultivates its own network of operatives across the globe as part of its international attack infrastructure.”
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