Oct 6, 2017, 6:51 PM ET

3 men arrested in alleged ISIS-inspired plot targeting New York City

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Three men have been arrested in three different countries after they allegedly plotted to "create the next 9/11," federal prosecutors revealed today after unsealing a case first brought more than a year ago.

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The alleged plot was to have been carried out in the summer of 2016. Court records said the planned attacks included detonating bombs in Times Square and in the New York City subway system, and shooting civilians at concert venues. The alleged plot was described as more aspirational than operational.

According to court documents, Abdulrahman el Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, allegedly purchased bomb-making materials to use in attacks in New York City. He was arrested in May 2016 in New Jersey, where he had rented a cabin within driving distance of New York City, according to court documents.

El Bahnasawy had allegedly traveled to New Jersey from Canada, he allegedly purchased bomb-making materials -- including 40 pounds of hydrogen peroxide -- that he shipped to an undercover FBI agent to whom he allegedly expressed an intention of carrying out Paris- and Brussels-like terror attacks in New York City, court documents state.

PHOTO: Abdulrahman el Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, purchased bomb-making materials to use in alleged attacks in New York City, including 40 pounds of hydrogen peroxide that he shipped undercover to New York.US Attorneys Office, Southern District of New York
Abdulrahman el Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, purchased bomb-making materials to use in alleged attacks in New York City, including 40 pounds of hydrogen peroxide that he shipped undercover to New York.

El Bahnasawy was allegedly quoted as telling the undercover FBI agent he aspired to "create the next 9/11" and expressed desire to "shoot up concerts [because] they kill a lot of people," but no specific venues were mentioned, according to court documents.

"We just walk in with guns in our hands. That's how the Paris guys did it," el Bahnasawy allegedly said when describing the plan, court documents state, referencing the November 2015 attacks in Paris, which included an attack at a concert at the Bataclan theater.

Two alleged accomplices, Tahla Haroon, 19-year-old U.S. citizen living in Pakistan, and Russell Salic, a 37-year-old Philippine citizen, were arrested as well, in September 2016 and April of this year, respectively, according to court documents.

Haroon was in Pakistan and allegedly wanted to fly into New York to help with the attack, court documents state. The pair allegedly boasted about having "a good plan for subways" and marked up an MTA subway map (see image below). They also allegedly discussed with undercover FBI agents plans to detonate a car in Times Square.

PHOTO: Abdulrahman el Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, purchased bomb-making materials to use in alleged attacks in New York City. Together with one of his alleged accomplices, he marked up an MTA subway map.US Attorneys Office, Southern District of New York
Abdulrahman el Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, purchased bomb-making materials to use in alleged attacks in New York City. Together with one of his alleged accomplices, he marked up an MTA subway map.

"We need a really strong bomb," El Bahnasawy was quoted as saying, according to court documents.

El Bahnasawy has pleaded guilty to the charges against him and is awiting sentencing in December. Haroon and Salic were arrested in foreign countries and have not yet been extradited to the U.S., according to court documents.

There is no connection between today's announcement and a noncredible threat to New York the FBI warned of earlier today.

The FBI had warned law enforcement partners of a potential threat to New York City's Times Square. According to a situational information report issued by the FBI and obtained by ABC News, an Instagram user on Wednesday afternoon posted, "I'm a Syrian refugee and I'm going to do something big in New York on Friday." The user also wrote, "I'm going to make the Las Vegas attack look small on Friday at Times Square."

However, the FBI and the New York City Police Department do not believe the threat is credible after the FBI was able to trace the IP addresses associated with the Instagram posts to South Africa.

"The NYPD is aware of this online threat," police said in a statement Friday. "It is very common to receive these types of postings in the aftermath of significant events throughout the world. There is no reason to believe this threat has any particular credibility. We have significant regular security resources in Times Square and continuously monitor the threat levels in this area.”

News - 3 men arrested in alleged ISIS-inspired plot targeting New York City

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  • Tonya Parnell

    The same thing happened in October, 2015 and Ohomo was also on their list

  • Hans

    So the muslims again? Again?

  • mrphilbert

    Betcha t-rump takes credit for stopping them tonight. He somehow did it all covertly during President Obama's watch.

  • mrphilbert

    I guess we're going to have to stop all travel to the U.S. from... Las Vegas and Canada now?

  • doomedby2020

    Personally I think it is a questionable thing to do. You Dems keep talking about the right to know....well I think an attempted terror attack is a pretty big deal.
    Obama was obviously keeping this private while Trump campaigned to limit refugees and close our borders.
    You see, Dems can't win their arguments anymore so they lie, cheat, conceal, mislead, alarm....you get the point.
    A crappy thing to do Obama.

  • Pangaea 47

    I am so glad they've caught them.

  • opinions are subjective

    Obviously a copycat group since they referred to how ISIS would do it. If they were ISIS they would refer to how "they" did it, and not have used the third person. Law enforcement sees so many of these copycat groups after something like Las Vegas happens, or other acts of violence. I'm sure the FBI has thwarted thousands of these potential attacks. We've seen this copycat stuff throughout history. The FBI has also thwarted real terrorist attacks. It's harder for them to find lone gunman though. New York has put together a great team of FBI agents, Police, and other tactical units that stop catastrophes from happening daily. Other cities and towns also have thwarted these attacks. We don't usually hear about all of them unless something like Las Vegas happens. I so hope our Intelligence Agencies, Police, Fire Departments, FBI,continue to do the work they do so well. Some may bash our Intelligence Agencies lately, and it comes from the highest level, but the American people are beholden to these government agencies. The constant Bashing they take when "someone" doesn't like what they're uncovering won't change the American people's regard for these agencies. They have no politics, they're independent and defend ALL Americans.

  • Bob Marshall

    This is obviously an act of war on Canada's part. War, I tell you, war. We should close the border.

  • AC

    So, did the Obama administration "delay" the release of this until after the 2016 election to help meddle in that election? Didn't want news of this to "influence" the election results in favor of a Republican candidate?

  • Rob Ford

    Too many crazy people in this world.

    Time Square, on New Years eve...there will be more cops than us regular folks. It has come to that. What a sad and bizarre state of affairs.

  • shadow44

    Great. Who cares what happens to those ingrate illegals. They think they are all that. Using the forever lame excuse, not our fault. Step in back of the line. A slap in the face to the legal people. Cowards want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Deport all DACA bums. Especially "nightmares".

  • Forsaken Perared

    "and shooting civilians at concert venues."

    hmmm didn't this just happen in vegas? and didn't ISIS claim credit.

    and this was 4 years ago.

  • Martin Baker

    They needn't have bothered anyway, Americans shoot each other at such a rate as to make terrorists redundant.

  • Rob Ford

    Why don't I get this on my morning news?

  • Ann Marie Tagen

    That is why Americans must NEVER be defenseless. Protect and defend yourself, and potentially saving other lives from terrorists attacks.

  • Jlv2017

    Lock them up for life or death penalty.

  • Rascal McDoogle

    Thanks Canada...vetting please???? Next up, secure the northern border as well.

  • realitycheck

    What is the point to blow up or shoot people ? This is not about crazy is about demented!

  • Camus53

    Kudos to all law enforcement involved in uncovering this plot and arresting the terrorists...either real or wannabe.

    We naturally pay more attention to attacks that occur than those prevented. Thank goodness law enforcement is covering our backs preventing so many failed plots.

  • Mr. Logical

    A lot of sick people in this world.
    Sadly, we're probably only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

  • noSalmi

    Nice. I love it when Islamists can't get it on. #win