The men, a Canadian citizen, a U.S. citizen living in Pakistan, and a citizen of the Philippines, planned to shoot concert goers, detonate a bomb in New York City’s Time Square, and attack the city’s subway system.
The parallels to the Paris nightclub attack at the Bataclan, which included grenade attacks on nearby venues, is clear. The Philippines citizen is a twist that envokes the Las Vegas mass murder as the shooter’s girlfriend was in the Philippines during the shooting and received $100,000 from the shooter just prior to the massacre.
Canadian citizen Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy said that he “wanted to shoot up concerts because they kill a lot of people. We just walk in with guns in our hands, that’s how the Paris guys did it.”
“We seriously need a car bomb at Time’s Square,” another suspect told an undercover FBI agent. “Look at these crowds of people.”
While the attacks were planned for last year, the charges were unsealed by federal authorities Friday.
Bahnasawy bought bomb-making supplies for the attack and was arrested in May of 2016 upon entering the United States in preparation for the attacks. He has now pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
“I wanna kill . . . them in thousands” Haroon allegedly told the undercover. “We have to make a ocean out of their blood .. leave no one standing.”
Russel Salic, a Philippines native, wired money to Haroon and Bahnasawy in support of the attack. Money moving back-and-forth between the U.S. and the Philippines is becoming more prevalent in U.S. terrorist activities. Salic was arrested by Philippine authorities and is also awaiting extradition.
Both Haroon and Basawai declared their allegiance to ISIS in electronic communications.