WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Three men, including two teenagers, have been arrested by authorities since May 2016 on charges of plotting attacks in New York City for Islamic State.
- According to the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan, the planned attacks were to detonate explosives in Manhattan’s Times Square and in the city’s subway.
- The attacks, supposed to be executed in the summer of 2016, were thwarted by law enforcement.
One of the men charged is 19-year-old Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy. The Canadian citizen was arrested in New Jersey in May 2016 and has been in U.S. custody since. The prosecutors said El Bahnasawy pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in October 2016.
The second to be arrested was Talha Haroon, also 19 years old, and is a U.S. citizen. He lives in Pakistan, where he was arrested in September 2016.
Last to be arrested was 37-year-old Filipino Muslim orthopaedic surgeon, Russell Salic. He was nabbed in the Philippines in April of this year, according to Kim’s office.
Haroon and Salic are expected to be extradited to the United States to face the charges, the prosecutors said. Filed charges include conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and supporting a terrorist organization. The three face a maximum sentence of life in prison if found guilty of the most serious charges.
El Bahnasawy bought bomb-making materials and helped find a place near New York City from which to plot attacks. Prosecutors said Haroon planned to fly to the U.S. to assist El Bahnasawy in carrying out the attacks. Salic , on the other hand, helped fund the plot.
Teenagers El Bahnasawy and Haroon planned to bomb New York’s subway, Times Square and some concert venues during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to documents unsealed in federal court in Manhattan earlier in October. Ramadan begins in June depending on the sighting of the new moon which tells when the ninth month begins.
According to prosecutors, an undercover law enforcement officer posed as an Islamic State supporter and told El Bahnasawy that he wanted to “create the next 9/11.”. El Bahnasawy told the officer of the plot to create a car bomb in Times Square and “shoot up concerts.” Haroon told the officer that Time Square was “a perfect spot to hit them.”
Salic, on the other hand, told the undercover officer that he had been in constant communication with El Bahnasawy and sent the officer about $423 from the Philippines to help fund the attacks.
Lawyers representing the three men have not been identified.