One of Hezbollah’s most important members arrested in Brazil


BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — One of Hezbollah’s most wanted members, Assad Ahmad Barakat, was arrested near Brazil’s border with Argentina and Paraguay on Friday.

Barakat has been labeled by the U.S. Treasury as one of the Lebanese terrorist group’s main financiers. He is part of the Barakat Clan, a criminal organization known for its links to Hezbollah.

Barakat was arrested in Foz de Iguazú, in southern Brazil. That triple border, or Triple Frontier as it is known as, has been linked with Hezbollah terrorist activity for decades, specifically as a source of the group’s funding.

In July, the Barakat Clan’s assets were frozen by the Financial Information Unit of Argentina. On Aug. 31, Argentine Judge Rubén Darío Riquelme ordered Barakat’s international capture. Barakat was also sought by Paraguay and Brazil.

Barakt, who was born in Lebanon, is also accused in Paraguay for identity fraud and for omitting information about his nationality status.

“We have monitored international terrorist activity in the lawless contiguous Triple Frontier region for some 20 years,” Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations, said Friday in a statement. “We commend this arrest and the expected extradition of Barakat to Argentina, as a sign that the three countries will begin to drive Hezbollah out of Latin America.”

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