Three men planned to “create the next 9/11” by staging coordinated shootings and bombings in New York City, prosecutors have revealed.
The alleged plot would have seen explosives detonated in Times Square and on the city’s subway, as well as shootings at concert venues in June 2016.
Although an undercover agent disrupted the alleged plot more than year ago, the arrests of three suspects remained secret until police completed a terror investigation.
Prosecutors say Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19, and Talha Haroon, also aged 19, unwittingly discussed their ideas for an attack with the undercover agent who posed online as an Islamic State supporter.
According to court documents, El Bahnasawy sent the agent an image of Times Square with a message saying: “We seriously need to car bomb Times Square. Look at these crowds of people!”
In other messages, he allegedly expressed a desire to “create the next 9/11” and “shoot up concerts cuz they kill a lot people…we just walk in with guns in our hands”.
El Bahnasawy purchased bomb-making materials, including hydrogen peroxide, and shipped them to the undercover agent, prosecutors say.
He was also said to have acquired a cabin within driving distance of New York City to build explosives in.
Meanwhile, Haroon allegedly asked an explosives expert for advice and planned to travel from Pakistan to help El Bahnasawy carry out the attack.
The 19-year-old told the undercover agent the subway was a “perfect” place to shoot passengers, adding that “when we run out of bullets we let the vests go off”, according to court documents.
Russell Salic, a 37-year-old from the Philippines, is accused of sending money to El Bahnasawy and Haroon to fund the alleged plot.
Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, a Canadian citizen, was arrested in New Jersey and pleaded guilty to seven terror charges in October 2016.
He is set to be sentenced in December and faces life in prison.
Talha Haroon was held in Pakistan in September 2016, while Salic was arrested in the Philippines in April.
Both are set to be extradited to the US.
(c) Sky News 2017: <a href=”http://news.sky.com/story/undercover-agent-foils-plot-to-create-next-911-in-new-york-city-prosecutors-say-11070341″>Undercover agent foils plot to ‘create next 9/11’ in New York City, prosecutors say</a>
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