Published: Sat, June 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

NY man accused of plotting Times Square terrorist attack

NY man accused of plotting Times Square terrorist attack

His official arrest was on suspicion of attempting to purchase firearms with the serial numbers removed, but he allegedly spoke about wanting to acquire a suicide bomb vest with the intention of targeting politicians in New York City and Washington, D.C., the outlet reported.

Alam had proposed an attack either in Times Square or an attack in Washington to kill a U.S. government official, the complaint said.

"As alleged, Ashiqul Alam bought illegal weapons as part of his plan to kill law enforcement officers and civilians in a terrorist attack on Times Square", US Attorney Richard Donoghue, whose office brought the charges, said in a statement.

Alam also had expressed interest in purchasing explosives with the intention of detonating them in Times Square, a law enforcement source told CNN on condition of anonymity.

The man, whose name was not yet public, was placed under investigation over the comments, and then arrested late Thursday after trying to buy a weapon, the officials said.

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Times Square has been a target of attacks before. The authorities believe there is no imminent threat to Times Square now that Alam is in custody. He is not expected to face terrorism charges. Alam's lawyer, James Darrow, declined comment. In a complaint filed Friday, investigators allege Alam praised the 9/11 attacks during a conversation with an undercover agent.

"I want to die fighting, man", he told an undercover officer during a visit to a shooting range in Pennsylvania in January.

A similar plot was foiled in the area nine years ago. Computers and boxes of goods were reportedly taken from the home by agents. Only Ullah was seriously hurt, though bystanders were injured by shrapnel.

Times Square, the commercial and entertainment hub around Broadway and 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, draws about 380,000 pedestrians a day, according to the Times Square District Management Association, making it one of the most visited locations in the world. Naji's ideas included tossing pipe bombs filled with nails and running people over with a stolen garbage truck.

Another would-be jihadi, Yemeni-born Mohamed Rafik Naji, was arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in 2016 after mulling over the idea of attacking Times Square to get the attention of Islamic State leadership.

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