The FBI released details today of a plan hatched by 3 men living in Canada, Pakistan and the Philippines to strike the New York subway system and different concert venues in a terrorist attack that one of the criminals hoped would become "the next 9/11."
Mr. Abdulrahman Al Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, Mr. Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen living in Pakistan and Russell Salic, a 37-year-old orthopedic surgeon living in the Philippines were all arrested for plotting attacks against the US.
Mr. Al Bahnasawy and Mr. Haroon had identified the 4/5/6 and 7 subway lines as well as Times Square as their ideal targets. For operational purposes and planning, they discussed and got their funding from Mr. Salic, who they referred to as ‘the doctor’.
The threesome was planning to launch multiple terrorist attacks on the center of New York and was mostly inspired by the Paris terror attacks of 2015.
They were apprehended because an FBI agent who had been posing online as a jihadi sympathizer participated in several chats with them. At a certain point in 2016, they told the FBI agent about their plan.
Mr. Haroon wrote: "NY Needs to fall. This is a must."
Federal prosecutors charging the threesome explained that Mr. Al Bahnasawy said he wanted them to “shoot up concerts cuz they kill lots of people." He then provided a list of upcoming NY concerts and bragged about picking a venue in “a concert hall that’s far away from cops.”
"We just need guns in our hands," Mr. Al Bahnasawy continued. "That's how the Paris guys did it."
Mr. Haroon agreed, adding that after the concerted attack they should get into the subway and explode their suicide vests: "When we run out of bullets we let the vests go off."
Mr. Salic then wired the two amounts of money from the Philippines and Mr. Al Bahnasawy used it to buy bomb-making material online.
This is when the FBI moved in and arrested the threesome in cooperation with Canadian, Pakistani and Philippine law enforcement.