Three men alleged to be acting in the name of the terror group ISIS planned to attack targets in New York City, with one man hoping to bring about “the next 9/11,” but were foiled after communicating with an undercover FBI agent, BBC News is reporting.
Although the plot was uncovered and thwarted last year, the FBI only released the details of its investigation on Friday.
Three men – a Canadian, an American in the Philippines, and an American in Pakistan – were all accused of plotting to attack targets in New York City, including Times Square and the city’s subway system. According to a statement from the Justice Department, the men were inspired by the Paris terror attacks of November 13, 2015.
“The planned attacks included detonating bombs in Times Square and the New York City subway system and shooting civilians at specific concert venues.”
One alleged conspirator wrote, via an instant-messaging app, that he believed Times Square would be the perfect target.
“We seriously need a car bomb [to attack Times Square].”
Another alleged conspirator wrote in response that the three should use suicide vests – that is, vests laden with bombs, which the attackers could then detonate, killing themselves (and others) in the process. He added that the subway would be the perfect place to blow themselves up, after using up all of their ammunition to fire on a crowd.
A third co-conspirator allegedly contributed $423 to the terror plot.
Unfortunately for the alleged jihadists, the three were also communicating with an undercover FBI agent, purporting to be a supporter of ISIS.
Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19, a Canadian citizen was arrested in New York in May 2016 in connection with the alleged plot. He pleaded guilty last October to seven terror-related charges and is currently awaiting sentencing. Talha Haroon, a U.S. citizen based in Pakistan, was arrested in Pakistan in September 2016; Russell Salic, a U.S. citizen based in the Philippines, was arrested in April. Both men are currently awaiting extradition to the United States.
Although the FBI curtailed the plot before the trio obtained any weapons, according to NBC News, El Bahnasawy had allegedly obtained bomb-making materials and had either rented or purchased a cabin in which to build bombs.
This would not be the first time Times Square was targeted by a terrorist. In 2010, Faisal Shahzad failed to detonate a car bomb in the popular New York location.
[Featured Image by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Cycle for Survival]