The three were planning to bomb Time Square, the New York City subway system as well as conduct a shooting at a concert. The three men intended to attack in the Summer of 2016 in support for ISIS. Law enforcer, however, thwarted their planned attacks.

Charges against the three

Those charged are, Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old US citizen residing in Pakistan, Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, and Russell Salic, a 37-year-old Philippine citizen. According to investigators, the three planned to carry out their attack in 2016 during the holy month of Ramadhan in large populated areas of New York City.

The three mostly communicated through messaging applications.

According to investigators, El Bahnasawy purchased bomb-making materials and secured a cab which he could use to stage an attack in New York City while Haroon met with bomb experts in Pakistan. Salic, on the other hand, is alleged to have wired money from the Philippines to the US to support the terrorist operation. According to the justice department, El Bahnasawy was arrested on May 21, 2016, in New Jersey. Haroon was arrested in Pakistan in or around September 2016 while Salic was detained in the Philippines in April 2017. El Bahnasawy pleaded guilty the to seven charges that were brought against him on Oct 13, 2016.

How the three planned to carry out the attacks

While in different countries, the three communicated through a messaging app with an ISIS supporter in the US. The ISIS supporter was identified in court as UC by investigators. In one of the communications, El Bahnasawy told the UC that “Americans need an attack,” and that he aspires to “create the next 9/11.” He also sent several images of maps of the New York City subway system to the UC.

The map contained markings of where he wanted to detonate bombs. He also sent the UC an image of Times Square and stated that "a car bomb was needed there because of the large crowds that are always present there." He also desired to conduct an attack at a concert by stating that "shooting at a concert would kill many people." He also stated that "all one needs is to walk with guns in their hands, the way the Paris guy did it."

While communicating with UC, Haroon stated that "the subway is a perfect target because many people can be shot, including women and kids." He also told the UC that "they could detonate bomb vests when they run out of bullets." He also stated that "NY needs to fall."

El Bahnasawy and Haroon received funding from Salice from the Philipines.

Salice also began communicating with the UC and explained to him how he is supporting El Bahnasawy and Haroon. El Bahnasawy was captured in New Jersey on May 2016, Haroon was detained in Pakistan in September 20116 while Salice was arrested in April this year in the Philipines.