Lebanese-born Canadian, whose family lived in Toronto, is accused of
using a fake passport in an attempt to enter Israel and conduct a
bombing on behalf of the Islamic militant group Hezbollah, according
to an indictment unsealed in U.S. federal court in Detroit.
Faouzi Ayoub, 44, who is on the FBI's most-wanted list of terror
suspects, faces one count of passport fraud, according to the August
2009 indictment that was only unsealed in U.S. District Court in
Detroit within the past week.
The FBI's office in Detroit could not discuss the case Wednesday, or
say where Ayoub was believed to be now, or explain why the
indictment was unsealed, spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.
But she noted that he should be considered armed and dangerous, and
that anyone with information about him should contact their local
FBI office, or nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
"Future indictments may be handed down as various investigations
proceed in connection to other terrorist incidents," according to a
posting about Ayoub and others on the FBI's website.
Federal prosecutors accuse Ayoub, whose last known U.S. residence
was in southeast Michigan, of using a passport under the name of
Frank Mariano Boschi to enter Israel in October 2000. The indictment
does not indicate whether authorities believe Ayoub, who is also
known as Fawzi Ayoub, participated in any bombing.
Ayoub was arrested in June, 2002 in the West Bank city of Hebron and
held as an accused "illegal fighter." Israeli authorities alleged
that he was an operative of Hezbollah sent to the Palestinian area
to organize attacks against Israel.
A statement from the Israeli prime minister's office at the time
called him "a senior Hezbollah fighter" who took part in operations
inside and outside Lebanon, "including events in which many
civilians were casualties."
The operations outside Lebanon in which Ayoub allegedly took part
were not specified, but Israeli officials have accused Iran and
Hezbollah of being responsible for the car-bomb attacks on the
Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, in
1992 and 1994. A total of 113 civilians were killed in the two
In 2004, Ayoub was reported to have been among 436 prisoners the
Israeli government swapped in exchange with Hezbollah for an Israeli
businessman and the bodies of three soldiers killed in October 2000
while on patrol in northern Israel.
The U.S. government classifies Hezbollah, which dominates the
Lebanese government coalition, as a terrorist group. Hezbollah
fought a devastating, 34-day war with Israel in 2006 that left 1,200
Lebanese and 160 Israelis dead. Lebanon and Israel technically
remain at war.
It was not clear how long Ayoub's name had been on the FBI's Most
Wanted Terrorists, at the top of which is Egyptian Islamic Jihad
founder Ayman Al-Zawahiri, indicted for his alleged role in the 1998
embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. The attacks killed 224
people. Al-Zawahiri's group later merged with al Qaeda