A Canadian citizen inspired by Islamic State to create "the next 9/11" and two other men plotted to attack Times Square and the New York City subway system with bombs and a shooting spree during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan past year, according to federal charges unsealed on Friday.
The government said that El Bahnasawy, of Missiuauga, Canada, was arrested in New Jersey, after travelling to the United States from Canada, and that Haroon was arrested in Pakistan in September 2016 and Salic in the Philippines in April. According to prosecutors, all three have been arrested and El Bahnasawy has already pleaded guilty following his May 2016 arrest. His sentence is pending.
Fortunately, Haroon made the proclamation to an undercover agent - and now all three men have been busted on terror charges, the feds said.
The alleged scheme was more nefarious than many: The group, which wanted to attack Times Square and the New York City subway system, claimed to have been in touch with an Islamic State affiliate to obtain the official sanction of the terrorist group, prosecutors said.
Targets included the subway, Times Square and concerts - inspired by the Paris attack.
The proposed attack - which was inspired by the 2015 Bataclan concert hall and Belgium metro terrorist attacks - would have taken place during Ramadan a year ago, and was foiled after an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent operating under the guise of an ISIL supporter exposed their schemes.
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"The most challenging and hard decisions that are made in these investigations is finding where the balance is - between protecting the integrity of the investigation and letting the public know the vital information they need to determine whether or not they feel safe foing to a particular venue", Klaver said.
El Bahnasawy and Haroon both allegedly told the undercover office they declared allegiance to ISIS, under the impression that he was in fact an ISIS-connected individual.
Three men planned to "create the next 9/11" by staging coordinated shootings and bombings in New York City, prosecutors have revealed. The two others face a mix of similar charges, but have not pleaded guilty.
Bahnasawy was looking to target the New York City landmark while Haroon wanted to target the Subway.
El Bahnasawy also spoke glowingly of a plan to 'shoot up concerts cuz they kill a lot of people, ' the indictment said. Salic pledged to raise money for the operation, and later sent the same agent $423 in funding. "That's how the Paris guys did it", he allegedly told the undercover agent. Haroon was arrested in Pakistan; Salic, was arrested in his home country.
The three were charged previous year with plotting to make the attack in the summer of 2016.
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