An illegal alien who was caught attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border admitted to officials that he was part of an Islamic terrorist group. 

The 22-year-old Lebanese national, Basel Bassel Ebbadi, attempted to enter the United States near El Paso, where he told U.S. Border Patrol agents that he was a part of the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah.

According to Border Patrol documents obtained by The New York Post, while Ebbadi was in custody, agents asked him what he was doing in the country. Ebbadi informed agents that he was “going to try to make a bomb.” 

Ebbadi was immediately placed in isolation and moved to the El Paso Sector’s Hardened Facility, where he would be interviewed by the Tactical Terrorism Response Team for making “terroristic threats to personnel.” 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement documents show that during the interview Ebbadi claimed he was trying to flee Lebanon and Hezbollah because “he didn’t want to kill people.” 

Ebbadi told investigators that he had been training with the terrorist group for seven years and served as an active member guarding weapons locations for another four years. His training was focused on “jihad” and killing people who were not a part of the Muslim faith. 

Upon entering the country, he said he hoped to go to New York and then move around the country.

Internal documents obtained by The New York Post show he was marked for deportation, although it is unclear which country he would be returned to. 

Earlier this month, Texas Scorecard reported on a Colombian national, 40-year-old Carlos Obed Yepez-Bedoya, being apprehended by the Texas Department of Public Safety agents on February 21. He was attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in Eagle Pass. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials confirmed that Yepez-Bedoya was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s terror watchlist but have not said why. 

In Fiscal Year 2023, the number of encounters at the Southwest border hit a record high of 2.4 million individuals. Already in Fiscal Year 2024, border patrol agents have encountered more than 900,000 illegal aliens. 

In addition to the high number of encounters, terror-watchlisted individuals have become more eager to cross the border. In FY23, 172 terror-watchlisted people were encountered at the border. Now in just four months—between October 2023 and January 2024—there have been 59 individuals encountered. 

Texas attempted to curb illegal crossings by implementing a new state law that would create a state crime for entering Texas illegally. The law also authorizes Texas law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those who cross the border illegally anywhere in the state.

However, the law is currently on hold following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to extend a temporary pause on the law without an expiration date. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.