A Las Vegas-type of attack was thwarted by law enforcement in the summer of 2016 and the federal terrorism charges were unsealed on Friday.
Officials announced the unsealing of federal terrorism charges against three men alleged to have plotted attacks on New York City during the summer of 2016 in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”), which were thwarted by law enforcement. All three men have been arrested, and one has pled guilty.
The defendants are Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19, a Canadian citizen; Talha Haroon, 19, a U.S. citizen living in Pakistan; and Russell Salic, 37, a citizen of the Philippines. The three men allegedly plotted bombings and shootings during the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan in 2016, all in the name of ISIS.
According to officials, El Bahnasawy bought bomb-making materials and secured a cabin within driving distance of New York City to use as the staging area for the “New York City Attacks.” Haroon was supposed to travel from Pakistan to join El Bahnasawy in carrying out the attacks. While El Bahnasawy and Haroon were preparing for the attacks, Salic wired money to fund the operation, authorities said.
The planned attacks included detonating bombs in Times Square and the New York City subway system, and shooting civilians at specific concert venues.
A joint effort by the NYPD and the FBI prevented the terrorist plot. During the investigation, an undercover FBI agent posed as an ISIS supporter prepared to carry out the attacks with them.
El Bahnasawy, who has been in custody since May 2016 when he was arrested by the FBI, pled guilty to terrorism offenses and awaits sentencing.
Haroon and Salic have been arrested by foreign authorities in connection with the charges and they are expected to be extradited to the United States to face trial.