Aug. 29, 2022 By Christian Murray
A 22-year-old East Elmhurst man pleaded guilty Friday in Brooklyn federal court for attempting to plot a terrorist attack in Queens on behalf of ISIS.
Awais Chudhary, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested two years ago at his Butler Street house after the FBI alleged that he had attempted to provide material support to ISIS and plotted a knife or bombing attack in Queens.
According to court filings, in August 2019, after watching violent terrorist propaganda videos, Chudhary pledged his allegiance to ISIS’s then-leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and began planning for a knife or bomb attack as a lone wolf ISIS supporter. Chudhary identified targets, including the pedestrian bridges over the Grand Central Parkway, the World’s Fair Marina, and the Flushing Bay Promenade, where he intended to carry out the attacks.
Chudhary conducted several reconnaissance trips to these locations and made video recordings of the areas he intended to attack.
“Awais Chudhary has admitted to planning to carry out a lone wolf terrorist attack in Queens against innocent civilians in an embrace of ISIS’s murderous cause,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace in a statement. “Thanks to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Chudhary’s efforts to commit deadly violence on behalf of ISIS were thwarted, lives were saved, and he now awaits sentencing for his heinous crime.”
The 22-year-old faces up to two decades in prison when he is sentenced.
“Mr. Chudhary has admitted to providing material support, from American soil, to terrorists based overseas,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell in a statement. “He is a naturalized U.S. citizen who abandoned the country that took him in, and instead pledged allegiance to ISIS and repeatedly and diligently promoted its violent objectives. Clearly, the threat of ISIS-inspired terrorism remains very real.”
Chudhary was nabbed by the feds after he sought guidance as how to conduct the attacks from individuals whom he believed to be ISIS supporters. He sought their advice as to the type of knife to use and how to prevent detection from law enforcement by not leaving “traces of finger prints [or] DNA.”
He also sent a screenshot of a document from an ISIS propaganda magazine that included a diagram of the human body depicting where to stab victims with a knife.
Chudhary, according to court records, ordered items online that he intended to use to commit a terrorist attack, including a tactical knife, a mask, gloves, a cellphone, and a chest and head strap to facilitate his recording of the attack, which he hoped would serve as inspiration to other ISIS supporters.
“The Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), with its tireless vigilance, was able to successfully disrupt his plot, keeping our city safe,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll. “As he admitted today [Friday], Mr. Chudhary planned to bring terror to the people of New York City on behalf of ISIS.”