Argentine Police Detain Hezbollah Terrorist Cell

July 24, 2018

< 1 min read

Argentine Federal Police confirmed recently that ‎they have apprehended a fundraising network enlisted ‎by Hezbollah that operated in the tri-border area of ‎Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. ‎

The raid, carried out by the Financial Information ‎Unit of the Argentine police focused on the al-‎Barakat ‎clan, headed by Assad Ahmed Barakat‎, a group ‎of Lebanese nationals living in Argentina, who are believed ‎to be ‎‎involved in money-laundering and financing ‎acts of terrorism carried out by the  Lebanese-‎based Shi’ite terrorist group backed by Iran.‎

Hezbollah has been linked to the 1992 attack on the ‎‎Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29, ‎‎and the July 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish center in ‎‎Buenos Aires that killed 85.‎

Authorities arrested 14 suspects and seized the ‎group’s assets, estimated at some $10 million. ‎According to local media reports, the raid was made ‎possible largely due to American and Israeli ‎intelligence.‎

This was the first time Argentina’s government ‎targeted a ‎Hezbollah fundraising network in the ‎country.‎

A statement issued on Friday by the Financial ‎Information Unit said the Barakat clan is suspected ‎of smuggling, counterfeiting, falsifying ‎documents, ‎extortion, drug and ‎trafficking, money-‎laundering and terrorist ‎financing.‎

‎“In relation to this illegal act, it is suspected ‎‎that it [the Barakat clan] would raise funds for the ‎Lebanese Hezbollah ‎organization,” the agency said. ‎

Barakat has been designated a terrorist by ‎the U.S. ‎Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets ‎Control, meaning his assets are frozen there as well, ‎and ‎that he is unable to operate financially in the ‎United States.‎

Earlier this year, the United States and Argentina agreed to ‎work together to cut off Hezbollah funding networks ‎and money-laundering that finance terrorism across ‎Latin America.‎

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