Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Times Square terror plot suspect is lone wolf from Queens

Man arrested for plotting to throw explosives in Times Square sources say Times Square New York
Patty Aguilar | 08 June, 2019, 01:17

During meetings with an undercover federal agent, Alam expressed support for the September 11, 2001, attacks on NY, where terrorists flew hijacked passenger jets into the World Trade Center, as well as for the militant group Islamic State, according to the complaint. The authorities launched an undercover sting operation and arrested Alam when he attempted to purchase the weapons he wanted.

In April, Alam met the undercover officer at a shooting range in Pennsylvania, according to the complaint.

Times Square, which is in the heart of the Broadway theater district and is packed with tourists day and night, has been a target of attacks before.

Alam also allegedly discussed buying a silencer, ammunition and hand grenades, which he said could each "take out at least eight people". Sources say he was trying to buy guns with their serial numbers removed.

"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. NBC's sources said he will not face terrorism charges.

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Alam's lawyer, James Darrow, declined comment. His neighbors in Queens described him as "respectful" and "quiet", saying they were "shocked" to learn of his arrest. A search of his family home by federal agents on Thursday afternoon was noted by the community.

In 2017, a Bangladeshi immigrant, Akayed Ullah, detonated a bomb in an underground pedestrian concourse linking the Times Square subway station to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. One person was killed and 22 were injured.

A new advertising board is installed on One Times Square on May 9, 2019 in New York City.

At this point, there is very little public information about the incident, but unnamed sources with the NYPD told WCBS-TV a man had been arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force made up of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NYPD after he "expressed interest" in purchasing explosives, including grenades.

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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