Saturday, 7 October 2017

Isis-inspired terror plot to murder hundreds in New York foiled

Isis-inspired terror plot to murder hundreds in New York foiled

A Isis-inspired mass shooting and bomb plot designed to cause carnage in New York has been foiled by the FBI. Terrorists planned to kill people in Times Square, concert venues, and the subway system but fell foul of undercover agents.

The charges against Canadian citizen Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19, Philippine citizen Russell Salic, 37, and Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old US citizen residing in Pakistan, were revealed in court. They were arrested months ago but charges were kept secret as investigators with the FBI and NYPD Counterterrorism Unit searched for possible co-conspirators. Prosecutors told a New York court the three men wanted to target heavily populated areas of New York City during Ramadhan in 2016. El Bahnasawy pleaded guilty to federal terror charges and is in custody and Salic and Haroon await extradition from foreign custody to face charges in the US.

Investigators said El Bahnasawy entered America from Canada to rent a cabin in New Jersey to use as an base and bomb-making facility.

He also bought 40 pounds of hydrogen peroxide, batteries, Christmas lights, thermometers and other ingredients commonly used in homemade bombs. 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 US to carry out the attacks. They communicated through a messaging app but were caught when they revealed their plans to an undercover agent pretending to be an ISIS member.

Isis-inspired terror plot to murder hundreds in New York foiled

El Bahnasawy messaged a picture of Times Square to the undercover agent with the message: ‘We seriously need a car bomb at times square. Look at these crowds of people!

The indictment said he also wanted to ‘shoot up concerts cuz they kill a lot of people.’ Taking inspiration from the Paris Bataclan massacre which killed 130 people he said: ‘We just walk in with guns in our hands. That’s how the Paris guys did it.’ Haroon wanted to attack the subway as there would be plenty of ‘women and kids’ to target and adding: ‘When we run out of bullets we let the vests go off.’

The Canadian Mounted Police and the FBI monitored the three men to find out if they were serious about carrying out the attack. When El Bahnasawy travelled from Canada to New Jersey investigators sprung into action and arrested him.

Haroon, who had also messaged the undercover officer ‘New York must fall’ was arrested in Pakistan in September 2016 and Salic was arrested in the Philippines in April 2017. A spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said: ‘the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.’ All three men face possible life sentences on charges including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

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