US seeks extradition of PH doctor linked to New York terror plot
A Filipino doctor accused of plotting terror attacks in the United States had been arrested months ago in the Philippines for his alleged involvement in kidnappings and beheadings blamed on Islamic State (IS) followers, an official said on Saturday.
Philippine state prosecutor Ricardo Paras said a Manila court was weighing a US government request for Dr. Russell Salic to be extradited to face terrorism financing charges.
US authorities on Friday said they disrupted a plot by Salic and two other IS followers to carry out terrorist attacks in New York City locations, including concert venues, subway stations and Times Square in the summer of 2016.
Even if the court approved the US extradition request, the Philippines’ Department of Justice would have to decide whether to let Salic face criminal complaints in the Philippines first or be flown to the US to answer the terrorism charges there, Paras said.
“The US can also request for a temporary surrender of Salic to its custody, but it’s in our options to require him to face criminal complaints here first,” Paras said.
Salic, 37, was accused of sending money to help fund the planned attacks, according to US court documents, which had been made public.
He allegedly told an undercover FBI agent posing as an Islamic extremist that his ultimate goal was to join IS in Syria but that “it would be a great pleasure if we can slaughter” people in New York, the documents said.
One of those involved in the plot was Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian who purchased bomb-making materials and was arrested after traveling to the US. He pleaded guilty to “terrorism offenses.”
Another alleged plotter was Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old American citizen living in Pakistan. Haroon had been arrested and was also awaiting extradition.
According to documents unsealing details of the plot, El Bahnasawy sent the undercover FBI agent an image of Times Square, saying that “we seriously need a car bomb” to attack it and that he wanted to “shoot up concerts cuz they kill a lot of people.” —REPORTS FROM AP AND AFP
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