A 20-year-old Ontario man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for his part in plotting to carry out a terror attack for ISIS in New York City.
Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, of Mississauga, pleaded guilty after confessing to plotting an attack on behalf of the terrorist organization. The attack planned to hit Times Square and the New York City subway system in the summer of 2016.
Prosecutors in the US were asking for a life sentence.
Assistant Attorney General Demers said in a statement that El Bahnasawy travelled to the US with an intent to commit a terrorist act.
“El Bahnasawy conspired with others to conduct terrorist attacks in New York City in support of ISIS. Today’s sentence reflects the severity of his conduct and holds him accountable for his terrorist activities,” he said.
The goal of the attack, says Demers, was to “wreak havoc and destruction” on the US city, and to detonate bombs in two of the most heavily trafficked areas of NYC. There was also an intention to shoot people at concert venues, according to the prosecution.
“El Bahnasawy pinpointed bomb locations on a map of the subway system, and acquired an array of bomb-making materials. El Bahnasawy aspired, in his words, to ‘create the next 9/11.’ Thanks to our law enforcement partners in New York, nationally, and internationally, this potentially devastating plot was thwarted,” said Demers.
El Bahnasawy used encrypted electronic messaging applications to conspire with Talha Haroon, a 20-year-old U.S. citizen residing in Pakistan, and Russell Salic, a 38-year-old Philippines citizen and resident, to conduct bombings and shootings, say lawyers.
They say his plans were elaborate: He “acquired bomb-making materials and helped secure a cabin within driving distance of New York City to use for building explosive devices and staging the NYC Attacks.”
The terror plot was infiltrated by an undercover FBI agent who posed as an ISIS supporter prepared to join in.
El Bahnasawy was arrested in May 2016 after travelling from Canada to the US. He has been in custody ever since.