Three men were charged in connection with an ISIS-inspired plot on Times Square, the NYC subway, and concerts, according to court records unsealed on Friday. One was an American citizen, one a Canadian, and one from the Philippines.
Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19, is a Canadian citizen. Talha Haroon, 19, is an American citizen living in Pakistan. Russell Salic, 37, is a Philippine citizen. All three have been arrested; Haroon and Salic are awaiting extradition.
Experts are calling the plot “amateur” but if it had occurred, it would have been devastating.
According to the Toronto Star, the men communicated via the internet.
“In messages, El Bahnasawy and Haroon said they intended to carry out the killings on behalf of Daesh, also known as ISIS and ISIL, using a plan similar to that used in attacks on Paris and Brussels.
El Bahnasawy told the undercover agent he was talking with a Daesh affiliate in Pakistan, and was planning to “create the next 9/11.”
“(W)e seriously need a car bomb at times square,” wrote El Bahnasawy on May 12, 2016, sending the message alongside a photo of the landmark. “Look at these crowds of people!”
They discussed the idea again on May 20, 2016, when Haroon suggested they “(d)rive by or we surround the whole street and trap them and kill as many as possible,” the Justice Department said.
“I wanna kill . . . them in thousands,” Haroon allegedly wrote.
“We have to make a ocean out of their blood. Leave no one standing.”
Also on May 12, 2016, El Bahnasawy said he wanted to “shoot up concerts cuz they kill a lot of people (sic).” El Bahnasawy and Haroon’s plans included specific concert venues, the Justice Department alleged.
“(W)e just walk in with guns in our hands,” El Bahnasawy wrote. “That’s how the Paris guys did it.”
Fortunately for everyone in America, these three were actually communicating with an FBI undercover agent who purported himself as a representative of ISIS. Over the course of 2016, El Bahnasawy purchased 40 pounds of hydrogen peroxide, Christmas lights, batteries, thermometers, and aluminum foil- all of which authorities said could be made into a homemade explosive. When Haroon talked to the undercover FBI agent about “Perming cords” or detonating cords, he was told that all of it was being handled.
In May of 2016, El Bahnasawy went to New Jersey in preparation for the attack and was arrested. He is due to be sentenced on December 12, 2017. Haroon was arrested in Pakistan in September 2016, and Salic arrested in April of 2017.
This is the criminal complaint against Haroon:
Russell Salic was accused of wiring money to fund this plot. There is one part of what he said that should give everyone pause in light of the Vegas attack:
“(I)ts not strict here. Unlike in Aus (Australia) or Uk (the United Kingdom) even liking FB (Facebook) status will put u in jail . . . Terrorists from all over the world usually come here as a breeding ground for terrorists . . . hahahaha . . . But no worry here in Philippines. They dont care bout IS (ISIS) . . . loll (.) Only in west.” Russell Salic, co-conspirator of the NYC plot.
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