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3 Charged in Alleged ISIS-Inspired Plot to Target New York Concerts, Landmarks, Subways: Feds
Authorities have cuffed three men in connection with an alleged ISIS-inspired plot to target concerts, landmarks and crowded subways in New York City in 2016, federal prosecutors announced Friday afternoon.
Three men -- Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen; Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen based in Pakistan; and Russell Salic, a 37-year-old Philippines citizen -- were all arrested on terror-related charges in the alleged plot that would have targeted New York City during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in 2016, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.
El Bahnasawy was detained on May 21, 2016, after he traveled to Cranford, New Jersey, to carry out the attacks; he has since pleaded guilty to multiple terrorism offenses. Haroon had allegedly made plans to travel to New York to join El Bahnasawy and was arrested in Pakistan. Salic, who allegedly wired money to the U.S. to fund the attack, was arrested in his home country.
Attorney information for the three men wasn't immediately available. El Bahnasawy will be sentenced in December and could face life in prison; the other two men could also spend the rest of their lives behind bars, if convicted.
NY Concerts Targeted in Alleged ISIS Inspired Plot
The alleged plot was apparently uncovered and interrupted months ago, officials said. Jonathan Dienst reports.
Kim's office said the plot was more aspirational than operational, but the trio used chat apps to talk about setting off bombs and shooting people in Times Square and the subway system. Prosecutors added that Al Bahnasawy also communicated with an undercover agent posing as an ISIS sympathizer about wanting to "shoot up concerts cuz they kill lots of people."
"We just need guns in our hands," El Bahnasawy said. "That's how the Paris guys did it."
Haroon, meanwhile, told the undercover agent that he saw the subway as a "perfect" target for the attack, and that they should shoot as many train riders as possible before setting off suicide vests.
"When we run out of bullets we let the vests go off," he said on May 5, 2016.
Then, three days later Haroon added, "NY Needs to fall. It's a must."
Prosecutors add that El Bahnasawy bought bomb-making materials while in Canada; Haroon allegedly met with an explosives expert in Pakistan to get more information on how to build bombs.