We are all sleeping safer thanks to the vigilant watch of the FBI.
“NY Needs to fall. This is a must,” wrote Talha Haroon to an undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS sympathizer. Haroon and two other men were planning “the next 9/11” on a messaging app when the FBI received a tip about the upcoming attack. The three men identified by the FBI have been brought up on seven terrorism charges against each of the three men, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, reports NBC News New York.
All three of the potential terrorists were living outside of the United States while planning the terror attack. The FBI has identified the terrorists as Abdulrahman Al Bahnasawy, 19, from Canada; Talha Haroon, 19, an American citizen living in Pakistan; and Russell Salic, 37, a surgeon from the Philippines. The three men and the undercover agent relied on a private message app to plan a deadly terror attack in New York City.
The three men discussed numerous plans, including denoting a car bomb in the center of Time Square, attacking the New York City subway systems with firearms and suicide vests, and massacring concertgoers in an attack inspired by the Paris terror attacks of 2015.
According to the FBI, the three men were planning to launch their attack in the summer of 2016. Details of the plans were withheld until recently as the FBI continued their investigation into the international terror cell. According to the criminal complaint, the terrorists were hoping to conduct their attack during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (June 6 – July 5, 2016), or on Memorial Day.
The FBI has described the plan as more aspirational than operational, but at least one of the men identified by the FBI traveled to the United States with plans to carry out an attack.
Al Bahnasawy, the Canadian citizen, was arrested after he traveled to Cranford, New Jersey, last May with plans to carry out an attack. Police were waiting for him with handcuffs. Al Bahnasawy purchased bomb-making material in Canada before he was arrested in New Jersey.
According to the FBI, El Bahnasawy and Haroon were planning to carry out the attack with the financial support of Salic, who they referred to as “the Doctor.” Salic allegedly wired $423 to the undercover FBI agent to plan the attack and promised more in the future.
Prosecutors argued that Haroon and Al Bahnasawy viewed the 7 and the 4/5/6 subway lines, in addition to Times Square as the ideal locations to launch their attack. They also discussed trapping victims to “kill as many people as possible.”
Al Bahnasawy also told the undercover officer that we wanted to “shoot up concerts cuz they kill lots of people.” Al Bahnasawy researched numerous concerts to find “a concert hall that’s far away from cops.”
“We just need guns in our hands,” charged Al Bahnasawy. “That’s how the Paris guys did it.”
Haroon was arrested in Pakistan, and Salic was arrested in the Philippines. Both men are awaiting extradition to the United States. All three men face life in prison.