A 22-year-old New York City man, Ashiqul Alam, was charged Friday after buying two Glock 9mm pistols with their serial numbers removed and talking about using a suicide explosive vest in Times Square, according to a federal criminal complaint.
The complaint was released shortly before the scheduled appearance of Alam, who is a citizen of Bangladesh, in US District Court in Brooklyn, reports CNBC online.
He is charged with possessing firearms whose identification numbers have been removed.
According to authorities, Alam purchased the pistols Thursday from undercover law enforcement officers.
The complaint said that Alam, who is a lawful permanent resident of the US, living in Queens, was eyed by authorities since last August, when an undercover law enforcement officer first met with him.
‘During those meetings, Alam repeatedly spoke approvingly about various terrorist attacks, including the September 11th terrorist attacks,’ the complaint said.
‘In addition, the defendant made a number of statements of admiration for various terrorist organisations, including the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham,’ widely known as ISIS, the complaint said.
Alam also allegedly praised the late leader of the al-Qaeda terror group, Osama bin Laden, who was allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Alam, according to the complaint, during conversations with an undercover officer, had talked about wanting to acquire or use a suicide bomb vest and about using hand grenades or other kinds of explosives during an attack on Times Square ‘during a large event’.
He also allegedly talked about using a suicide vest ‘in Washington, DC to kill a senior government official’, the complaint said.
In December, Alam ‘lamented’ to the undercover officer about ‘not having access to the types of resources he deemed necessary to carry out the “plan,”’ the complaint said.
When Alam was asked what he needed, according to the charging document, ‘Alam stated they needed to obtain bomb-making materials, including means to detonate the suicide vest.’
In January, the two men visited Times Square to conduct ‘reconnaissance,’ the complaint said. While there, ‘Alam used his cellular telephone to make a video recording of the area,’ according to the complaint.
‘Alam explained to [the undercover officer] that he was looking for potential targets.’
When the undercover officer suggested the area around Father Duffy Square, which is located in Times Square, ‘Alam stated, ‘That is the place we hit,’ the complaint said.
According to the same document, Alam and the officer visited a shooting range in Pennsylvania in January, and during that drive Alam allegedly said, ‘I want to die fighting man.’
In 2010, an immigrant from Pakistan, Faisal Shahzad, tried and failed to detonate a car bomb in Times Square.
Shahzad pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Diaspora