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A Bin Laden-obsessed terrorist allegedly planned to attack the new World Trade Center and grenade Times Square tourists
A would-be Islamic terrorist, busted for a plot to hurl grenades into the multitudes of Times Square tourists, pondered blasting the new World Trade Center with a massive rocket launcher, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.
Suspect Ashiqul Alam, 22, an Osama bin Laden-loving immigrant from Bangladesh, also suggested a suicide bombing to kill an unidentified "senior government official" in Washington, the 13-page court Brooklyn Federal Court document alleged.
Alam, during a March 21 meeting with a law enforcement undercover, declared that "seeing the flag of Islam on the Twin Towers or the Empire State Building" would make him happy.
One week earlier, the Queens man discussed an attack on the new WTC as he drove along the West Side Highway past the 1,776-foot building that opened in 2014.
"Probably a rocket launcher, like a huge one," Alam replied, his voice dropping to a whisper, when asked about his approach. "Available tools, probably a bomb."
Alam was arrested Thursday following a sting operation that ended when an undercover officer sold him two Glock 19 9mm semi-automatic weapons for use in his planned Times Square carnage. The weapons were provided with the serial numbers obliterated.
Investigators described Alam as a lone wolf, and do not believe he was part of a larger plot, sources said.
Alam initially spoke about using a suicide vest packed with explosives and shrapnel in either Times Square or the nation's capital, authorities alleged.
"Yeah, man, that s--- is painless," Alam told the undercover, who was in contact with the suspect for the last 10 months. "You die right away. Better than prison, right?"
During a January meeting, Alam boasted that they could become "legends" if they executed the Midtown assault at the epicenter of the city's tourist trade.
A neighbor in Alam's Jackson Heights building said he and his parents moved in about six years ago. The FBI descended on the property Thursday night and spent about four hours conducting their investigation.
"Oh my God, I'm so surprised," said next-door neighbor Shamsi Ara, 47. "They are nice, hardworking. They're just simple people ... I don't see him hanging out on the corner. I see him with his backpack. He always says 'Hi.'"
Previous plots targeting the Crosswords of the World included a failed car-bombing plot on May 1, 2010 when the explosive device fizzled on West 45th St. and a nearby handbag vendor alerted cops.
Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in federal prison. The one-time suburban Connecticut dad was also an admirer of Osama bin Laden, and was unrepentant at sentencing, saying he was part of a group of "proud terrorists."
A March 6, 2008, bombing of the military recruiting station in Times Square remains unsolved. In that case, a man rode up on a blue bicycle and left a bomb next to the station. The explosion shattered glass, but didn't hurt anyone.
Alam, during an April 25 trip to a Pennsylvania shooting range, asked the undercover for a ride back and forth from a Lasik surgery appointment to improve his vision.
"Let's say we're in an attack, right, say that my glasses fell out," an amused Alam explained of his motivation for the surgery. "What if I accidentally shoot you? You know what I mean? Imagine what the news channel would call me, the 'Looney Tunes Terrorist' or the 'Blind Terrorist.'"
©2019 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.