US authorities allege the three men plotted to carry out bombings and shootings in heavily populated areas of New York City during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in 2016.
All three men face possible terms of live in prison on charges including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. At the time, authorities were anxious that news of an arrest would spook Haroon, who they still hoped would follow through on talk of going to NY so they could arrest him there.
Through their communications, El Bahnasawy discussed in May 2016 potentially placing a auto bomb in Times Square.
El Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen, purchased 40 pounds of hydrogen peroxide, an ingredient used in improved explosive devices, according to authorities.
In a plea hearing on October 13, 2016, according to the documents, he admitted in court to plotting with others to "carry out an attack in Times Square, to Support ISIL; specifically we agreed to try to set off a bomb in Times Square". He later shipped the material to the undercover agent in the United States, where he and Haroon planned to use a cabin in a rural area within driving distance of the city to build bombs and take target practice, they said.
On Friday, criminal complaints were unsealed in the Federal District Court in New York City and revealed the undercover FBI agent was able to convince these men he would be carrying out this attack with them.
A Canadian teen who pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges in connection with a plot to attack New York City landmarks has met in prison with Alberta lawyer Dennis Edney, who previously defended Omar Khadr, CTV News has learned. Both men, who have denied being part of a terror plot, remain overseas pending extradition. They then reached out to Saric, who they called "The Doctor", in May to help finance their plans.
In New York, which hosts Times Square New Year's Eve and other events surrounded by high-rises, police say they use rooftop snipers to scan for threats, and make security sweeps of nearby hotels.
According to ABC News, El Bahnasawy shared with the undercover agent wanted to recreate the 9/11 attack and wanted to target concerts so a lot of people can be killed.
"We just need guns in our hands", El Bahnasawy said. "That's how Paris guys did it", the papers said in an apparent reference to the slaughter by men armed with assault weapons at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris during a performance of the rock group Eagles of Death Metal in 2015.
"When we run out of bullets we let the vests go off", he said.
The lawyers noted that El Bahnasawy's family had travelled frequently from Ontario to NY to visit him at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan until his visits were halted after a disciplinary hearing on November 22, 2016.
Salic, 37, was accused of sending money to help fund the attacks, court papers said.
The plot was ultimately thwarted by an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigations officer, who convinced the defendants that he too was a supporter of ISIS and told them he would carry out the attacks along side them.
Read the whole story from The New York Times.
The case has been ongoing for more than a year already, with El Bahnasawy being arrested in March last year, pleading guilty to seven charges.