Three men arrested in alleged ISIS-inspired plot targeting New York City
Ultima_Gaina/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An alleged ISIS-inspired plot targeting New York City was revealed Friday after the case was unsealed.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the alleged plot, which was described as more aspirational than operational.
According to a Justice Department press release, Abdulrahman el Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, purchased bomb-making materials to use in alleged attacks in New York City. He was arrested in May 2016.
Two additional accomplices, Tahla Haroon, 19-year-old U.S. citizen living in Pakistan, and Russell Salic, a 37-year-old Philippine citizen, were arrested as well, in September 2016 and April of this year, respectively, according to the press release.
The alleged plot was to have been carried out in the summer of 2016. Court records said the planned attacks included detonating bombs in Times Square and in the New York City subway system, and shooting civilians at specific concert venues.
“Communicating through Internet messaging applications, these three men allegedly plotted to conduct bombings and shootings in heavily populated areas of New York City during the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan in 2016, all in the name of ISIS,” the press release says.
El Bahnasawy has pleaded guilty to the charges against him. Haroon and Salic were arrested in foreign countries, according to the press release.
“It is the hope and expectation of this Office and U.S. law enforcement that they will be extradited to the United States to face justice in a United States court,” the press release states.
There is no connection to a noncredible threat mentioned by the FBI earlier Friday.
The FBI had warned law enforcement partners of a potential threat to New York City’s Times Square. According to a situational information report issued by the FBI and obtained by ABC News, an Instagram user on Wednesday afternoon posted, “I’m a Syrian refugee and I’m going to do something big in New York on Friday.” The user also wrote, “I’m going to make the Las Vegas attack look small on Friday at Times Square.”
However, the FBI and the New York City Police Department do not believe the threat is credible after the FBI was able to trace the IP addresses associated with the Instagram posts to South Africa.
“The NYPD is aware of this online threat,” police said in a statement Friday. “It is very common to receive these types of postings in the aftermath of significant events throughout the world. There is no reason to believe this threat has any particular credibility. We have significant regular security resources in Times Square and continuously monitor the threat levels in this area.”
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