FBI Charges Three for Alleged Islamic State Plot Targeting NY Concerts

Pauline Gross
October 8, 2017

The three men involved are identified as 19-year-old Canadian Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19-year-old Tala Haroon, a USA citizen who lives in Pakistan and Russel Salic, 37, of the Philippines. The two others face a mix of similar charges, but have not pleaded guilty. El Bahnasawy already pleaded guilty to seven charges.

Salic was the money man and sent funds from the Philippines and Haroon met with explosives experts in Pakistan and planned to join El Bahnasawy in the United States to carry out the attacks. Haroon and Salic have been arrested overseas, and the United States is seeking to have them extradited to stand trial here.

The alleged plot would have seen explosives detonated in Times Square and on the city's subway, as well as shootings at concert venues in June 2016.

According to court documents, El Bahnasawy sent the agent an image of Times Square with a message saying: "We seriously need to vehicle bomb Times Square". The Islamic State has claimed that attack, though authorities have said repeatedly they have found no evidence to support the terror group's assertion. He also asserted the group should put a vehicle bomb in Times Square, prosecutors alleged.

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"Look at these crowds of people!" he wrote, according to prosecutors.

The revelation comes almost one week after a man carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern USA history in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more during the Route 91 country music festival on Sunday, October 1.

Salic also began communicating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, eventually sending "approximately $423" to fund the attacks and promising to send more, according to prosecutors. That's how the Paris guys did it, ' the message said in apparent reference to the November 2015 attacks on the Bataclan theater, which left 130 dead in Paris.

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El Bahnasawy from the Toronto area pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in the US after being involved in a plot to blow up New York City landmarks, Canadian media reported Friday.

Prosecutors include that El Bahnasawy purchased bomb-production materials while in Canada; Haroon supposedly met with an explosives master in Pakistan to get more data on the most proficient method to assemble bombs.

Meanwhile, El Bahnasawy shipped the bomb-making materials to the United States and allegedly told the agent he wanted to practice shooting at the cabin, which would need refrigeration for the objective of making explosives.

"The 2 subway routes we will blow up will be the purple one and the green one", he told the undercover agent, referring to the No. 7 train and the Nos.

Around May 6, he told the agent he had researched concerts in the New York City area looking for one in a "closed area" and "far away from cops".

El Bahnasawy is scheduled to be sentenced in December; some of the charges against him carry potential life sentences. Using an alias, Salic then contacted the operative about transferring the money, and also said he was "desperate" to join ISIS in Syria.

El Bahnasawy was arrested in May 2016, Haroon in September 2016 and Salic in April of this year, according to court documents.

Other reports by GizPress

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