In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has revealed that they foiled a terrorist plot targeting the New York subway system, Times Square, and concert venues. Authorities announced that one of the suspects had hoped that their planned attacks would be “the next 9/11.”
The FBI has revealed that three suspects, all residing outside of the United States, were planning attacks in New York. The men were identified as 19-year-old Canadian Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy; 19-year-old U.S. citizen, living in Pakistan, Talha Haroon; and 37 year old Philippine citizen Russell Salic. The trio allegedly used online social media chat applications to discuss “detonating a car bomb in the Crossroads of the World, gunning down subway riders before detonating vests and opening fire on concertgoers in the vein of the Paris terror attacks of 2015.”
From NBC New York:
‘According to prosecutors, El Bahnasawy began talking with one another — and the undercover agent — in the spring of 2016. Over the month of May, they allegedly plotted pledged to carry out a variety of attacks in the city during the Islamic holy month of Ramadam (sic) — that year, from June 6 to July 5 — or on Memorial Day. They then reached out to Saric, who they called “The Doctor,” in May to help finance their plans.’
The plans outlined by the three men included “the 7 and 4/5/6 subway lines and Times Square as ideal targets.” The three also discussed the Crossroads of the World and trapping people inside to “kill as many people as possible.” During these conversations, the FBI had an undercover agent deployed who was posing as an ISIS sympathizer. The men informed the undercover agent that their intention was to target areas where large gatherings of people were, such as concerts, and their research included finding concert venues that were farthest from police stations and active police presences.
At one point, El Bahnasawy said:
‘We just need guns in our hands. That’s how the Paris guys did it.’
Haroon, in discussing a subway attack, spoke of suicide vests:
‘When we run out of bullets we let the vests go off.’
The three were actively purchasing bomb-making supplies and meeting with people to learn more about making bombs. All three men have been arrested and pose no additional threat.
‘El Bahnasawy was detained on May 21, 2016, after he traveled to Cranford, New Jersey, to carry out the attacks; he has since pleaded guilty to multiple terrorism offenses. Haroon was arrested in Pakistan; Salic, was arrested in his home country. All three men were charged with seven terror-related counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.’
While the plots were uncovered and the suspects arrested several months ago, the FBI was reluctant to release any information until this past Friday. An FBI representative stated:
‘The most challenging and difficult decisions that are made in these investigations is finding where the balance is –- between protecting the integrity of the investigation and letting the public know the vital information they need to determine whether or not they feel safe going to a particular venue.’
Even though Stephen Paddock slipped through the cracks and was able to kill 58 people and wound almost 500 more in one 15 minute attack, it is comforting to know that the FBI is actively reigning in some of these terrorists that would cause rampant carnage on our citizens.
Featured image from NBC New York video