An alleged Hezbollah operative has been convicted in Thailand of illegal possession of a large amount of bomb-making materials.
Lebanese-born Atris Hussein, who is also a Swedish citizen, was arrested in January 2012 in Bangkok. His arrest occurred shortly after the United States issued a terror warning concerning tourist sites in the Thai capital, and after Israeli officials told Thai police that Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based, Iran-supported terrorist group, planned a new year’s attack in Thailand.
During the investigation, Thai police uncovered a warehouse where nearly three tons of explosive material were being stored – enough for multiple attacks. Mr. Hussein was found guilty and sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. His conviction came just weeks after a different Thai court sentenced two Iranian nationals to lengthy terms for plotting a bomb attack on Israeli diplomats.
Deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf welcomed the Thai court’s verdict on Atris Hussein:
“Today's verdict, I think, illustrates yet again the global reach of Hezbollah's terrorist arm and demonstrates why countries around the world need to remain vigilant about their activities.”
In its latest annual report on global terrorism, the State Department said that 2012 saw a “marked resurgence” in international plots. "Iran and Hezbollah's terrorist activity has reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s,” said the report.
The United States has long recognized Hezbollah as a terrorist group. In July, The European Union designated the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The Gulf Cooperation Council has announced that it is considering sanctions against the group; and law enforcement actions against Hezbollah across the world indicate that the tide of international opinion is turning against this organization.
The United States urges other countries to take steps to crack down on Hezbollah and reduce its capability to engage in terrorist activity in the future.