US justice authorities revealed on Friday that FBI agents had stopped three Daesh sympathizers from carrying out coordinated attacks on New York concert venues, subway stations and Times Square last year.
“The planned attacks … included the detonation of explosive devices in Times Square and the New York City subway system,” according to a statement by the Department of Justice.
One man in the US and two others in Pakistan and the Philippines are under arrest and face charges of plotting the attacks which they wanted to carry out in the name of the Daesh Takfiri group.
Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19, a Canadian citizen detained in New York; Talha Haroon, also 19, a US citizen based in Pakistan and Russell Salic, 37, from the Philippines.
El Bahnasawy, who was arrested in May 2016, pleaded guilty last October to seven terror-related charges and awaits court sentence.
He had sent an undercover FBI agent a picture of Times Square, alongside text that read: “We seriously need to car bomb Times Square. Look at these crowds of people!”
He also said that he wished to “shoot up concerts cuz they kill a lot of people.”
Haroon was to help him in the militant attack, while Salic was to fund the logistics.
Haroon called the New York subway the “perfect” target and suggested that they use assault weapons to begin the attack and follow it by detonating their suicide vests.
The US has requested both men’s extradition.
In 2016, a Daesh-linked hacking group released the details of more than 3,000 New Yorkers, mostly Brooklynites, calling on its militants to target them.
NYPD and FBI contacted all of those on the list, some by personal visit, assuring them that there was no known immediate threat.