New York IS-inspired terror plot uncovered

Times Square.
Times Square. Photo credit: Getty

An IS-style plot to target New York has been uncovered by US authorities.

The three men involved are identified as 19-year-old Canadian Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19-year-old Tala Haroon, a US citizen who lives in Pakistan and Russel Salic, 37, of the Philippines.

The US Department of Justice has revealed the men planned to kill and injure as many people as possible in attacks they planned to carry out in June and July 2016.

Authorities were able to catch the trio before they carried out the attack, but they did make several plans.

According to officials, the men were tricked into believing an undercover FBI agent was an IS sympathiser and would carry out the attacks alongside them.

Mr El Bahnasawy told the agent "these Americans need an attack" and said he wanted to create "the next 9/11".

The men began to plan where to attack; on May 1, 2016 Mr El Bahnasawy sent images of maps of the New York City subway system containing markings of possible places to attack.

At one point he sent his co-conspirators photos of Times Square, saying, "We seriously need a car bomb at Times Square... Look at these crowds of people!"

On May 5, 2016 Mr Haroon said the subway was the "perfect target" and they should try and attack as many people as possible, including women and children.  

During that month Mr El Bahnasawy began buying materials to make bombs. 

Mr Haroon pledged to travel to New York to carry out the attacks, while Mr Salic provided money.

Mr El Bahnasawy was arrested in May 2016 in New Jersey after travelling to the US from Canada. He has remained in custody since. 

Mr Haroon and Mr Salic were both also arrested. Mr Haroon was caught in Pakistan in September 2016 and Mr Salic was arrested in April 2017 in the Philippines. The authorities hope to extradite them to face trial.