New York City Terrorism Plot: Canadian Pleads Guilty After 2016 Arrest

New York Police Department officers stand guard in Times Square on May 29, 2017.

NEW YORK — U.S. authorities said a 19-year-old Canadian pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges in connection with what they call an ISIS-inspired plot to target landmarks in New York City more than a year ago, including Times Square and the city’s subway system.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York says the Canadian, identified as Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, of Mississauga, Ont., has been in custody since the FBI arrested him in New Jersey in May 2016.

File photo of FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington D.C.

The arrests were first announced Friday following a court’s unsealing of federal terrorism charges against the three men.

The other two accused are identified as Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen residing in Pakistan, and Russell Salic, 37, from the Philippines.

U.S. authorities allege that the three men communicated through Internet messaging applications, allegedly plotting to carry out bombing and shootings in heavily populated areas of New York City during the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan in 2016.

They also allege that while in Canada, El Bahnasawy purchased bomb-making materials and helped secure a cabin within driving distance of New York City to use for building the explosive devices and staging the attacks.

Suspect allegedly inspired to ‘create the next 9/11’

El Bahnasawy and Haroon began communicating with an undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS supporter, and declared their allegiance to the terror group.

The release says El Bahnasawy stated to the agent that “1/8t 3/8hese Americans need an attack” and that he aspired to “create the next 9/11” with plans to come to New York from Canada.

The RCMP issued a statement saying it collaborated with the FBI in the investigation that led to El Bahnasaw’s arrest.

The statement also says that at no time was the safety or security of the public at risk.

El Bahnasawy is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12, 2017.

American justice officials said extradition proceedings are ongoing in Pakistan and the Philippines to bring the other two suspects to the U.S. to face the charges.

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Author: The Canadian Press