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U.S.: Man sought weapons, grenades for Occasions Sq. terror assault

NEW YORK — A New York Metropolis man plotted to make use of weapons, grenades and suicide vests to carry bloodshed to Occasions Sq., federal prosecutors mentioned Friday.

Ashiqul Alam was arrested Thursday after arranging via an spy to purchase a pair of pistols whose serial numbers had been obliterated, prosecutors mentioned. Alam additionally mentioned shopping for a silencer, ammunition and hand grenades, which he mentioned might every “take out at least eight people,” prosecutors mentioned.

Alam, 22, of Queens, was anticipated to be arraigned Friday on weapons-related offences, however courtroom paperwork filed in reference to the case describe months of plotting for a terrorist assault aimed toward killing civilians and legislation enforcement officers in Occasions Sq..

Alam began talking with the spy about his plans final August and went with him on a reconnaissance journey to the bustling Manhattan vacationer district in January, the paperwork mentioned.

Alam “repeatedly expressed interest in purchasing firearms and explosives for a terrorist attack in the New York City area” and spoke about terrorist organizations together with ISIS throughout conversations with the spy, the courtroom paperwork mentioned.

Alam used his cellphone to take video of Occasions Sq. and “explained to the undercover that he was looking for potential targets,” in keeping with the paperwork.

Alam’s lawyer, James Darrow, declined remark.

Occasions Sq., which is within the coronary heart of the Broadway theatre district and is filled with vacationers day and night time, has been a goal of assaults earlier than.

In 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen who had gotten explosives coaching in Pakistan, tried however didn’t detonate a automotive bomb there. He was sentenced to life in jail.

In 2017, a Bangladeshi immigrant, Akayed Ullah, detonated a bomb in an underground pedestrian concourse linking the Occasions Sq. subway station to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Solely Ullah was significantly damage, although bystanders had been injured by shrapnel.

That very same 12 months, a person who advised police he was excessive on medication and listening to voices drove his automotive into the sq.’s crowds, killing a young person and injuring round 20 folks.

Police at all times have a heavy presence in Occasions Sq. and its sidewalks and plazas are partially protected with metal posts meant to cease rushing automobiles.

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