One arrested, waiting other two to be extradited to US from Pakistan and the Philippines
U.S. Federal prosecutors on Friday announced charges against three men arrested for allegedly participating in a plot to carry out Daesh terrorist attacks in New York City last year.
According to court documents all three men, Abdulrahman el Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, Tahla Haroon, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen living in Pakistan, and Russell Salic, a 37-year-old Philippine citizen planned to gather and detonate bombs in Times Square, a popular tourist destination, and on the subway. They also had a plan to shoot civilians at a number of concerts in New York City.
El Bahnasawy from the Toronto area pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in the U.S. after being involved in a plot to blow up New York City landmarks, Canadian media reported Friday.
He has been in FBI custody for 17 months but the plot is just now coming to light after the case was unsealed by the court, Friday.The plot was also the subject of a U.S. Justice Department news release.
El Bahnasawy is now awaiting sentencing, expected to take place Dec. 12.
U.S. authorities allege that El Bahnasawy purchased bomb-making materials while in Canada. The materials included 18 kg of hydrogen peroxide, a key component of improvised explosive devices, as well as batteries, thermometers and aluminum foil.
He was also was involved in obtaining a cabin within driving distance of New York City. The cabin was to be used to store explosives and act as a jumping off point for the attacks.
"We just walk in with guns in our hands. That's how the Paris guys did it," el Bahnasawy allegedly said before he was arrested, referencing the November 2015 attacks in Paris, which included an attack at a concert at the Bataclan Theater.
Haroon and Salic were arrested in foreign countries and have not yet been extradited to the U.S. yet, according to court documents.
The alleged Daesh-inspired plans, which were described as more aspirational than operational, were thwarted by an undercover FBI agent who were also in contact with the men claiming to be an Daesh sympathizer.
In addition, a Syrian refugee allegedly on Wednesday said on his Instagram account that he was going to do something big in New York on Friday.
"I'm going to make the Las Vegas attack look small on Friday at Times Square," he also wrote.
The FBI on Friday warned of a potential threat to New York City's Times Square. However, the threat was not credible later on after the FBI was able to trace the IP addresses associated with the Instagram posts to South Africa.