Lone Wolf Attack on Times Square Thwarted

 In Domestic

A 22 year old man who wanted to carry out a “lone wolf” attack on NYC’s famed Times Square was arrested on Thursday by federal authorities. He is a legal permanent resident with a green card, and is from Bangladesh.

Ashiqul Alam of Jackson Heights, Queens was charged with purchasing firearms that had obliterated serial numbers. The DOJ criminal complaint was filed on Friday. He planned to conduct a lone wolf attack on Times Square, and kill a large number of people, including law enforcement officers.

His lone wolf plan included targeting a “senior government official,” and had two targets in mind- Times Square and Washington, according to Fox.

The DOJ noted,

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,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “What he did not know was that he was buying weapons from government agents, who were monitoring his plans and intervening to prevent those plans from escalating into deadly violence.  This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to exercise extreme vigilance to prevent terrorists from attacking our city and our country.”

“There is more to this case than just talk and the desire to carry out a terrorist attack. Individuals who believe in the distorted and deadly propaganda of terrorist organizations and work toward acting on those deadly impulses are incredibly dangerous and unpredictable,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Mr. Alam allegedly then took the steps to follow through on his deadly impulse, purchasing weapons to kill New Yorkers, target an elected official and attack police officers.  The FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force and the NYPD Intelligence Bureau will simply not allow individuals to execute their plots, and our team will use every legal tool available to us to protect our community and remain ahead of the threat individuals like Alam pose to our communities.”

“Mr. Alam discussed guns, suicide vests, hand grenades, and surveilled crowded New York targets such as Times Square”, said Police Commissioner O’Neill. “Our job is to prevent these terrorist attacks whenever we can before they are carried out. This case is another example of the tightly-knit teamwork of the JTTF and the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau. Mr. Alam is charged with illegally purchasing untraceable firearms from undercover officers. That was a clear indicator of his intent to move his plot forward.” 

As alleged in the complaint, between August 2018 and the present, Alam repeatedly expressed a desire to purchase firearms and explosives for use in a terrorist attack.  Alam identified two targets, either Times Square or Washington, D.C., in order to kill a senior government official.  In January 2019, Alam conducted several “recon” trips to Times Square, using his cellular telephone to make a video recording of the area as he searched for potential targets.  Alam considered multiple ways to conduct such an attack, including by using a “suicide vest” and by obtaining AR-15 assault rifles to kill law enforcement officers. 

Agents also showed him grenades, to which he replied excitedly that those would “take out at least people.”

Featured photo of Ashiqul Alam screenshot via CBS

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