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East Elmhurst Teen Planned ISIS-Inspired Attack at World’s Fair Marina

Sept. 3, 2019 By Allie Griffin

A 19-year-old from East Elmhurst planned an ISIS-inspired knife attack at several Queens locations including the World’s Fair Marina — going so far as to purchase a knife and camera mount to livestream the attack, according to the FBI.

Awais Chudhary, a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State in Brooklyn federal court Friday, where he was ordered held without bail.

“There’s no doubt Chudhary allegedly wanted to make headlines by attacking innocent people going about their daily lives. Thanks to the diligent work of the agents, analysts and detectives…the only thing to report today is his arrest, and the only photos Chudhary will be featured in are the ones taken in our prisoner processing room prior to his arrival in federal prison,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney on Friday.

According to the criminal complaint, Chudhary exchanged a series of texts about planning a stabbing or bombing attack on behalf of ISIS with undercover law enforcement officers throughout August. He picked the pedestrian bridges over the Grand Central Parkway to the Flushing Bay Promenade and the World’s Fair Marina as locations for the attack.

“[Chudhary] had carefully planned, conducted reconnaissance, picked a target, and was in the process of obtaining the weapon. All he has left to do was to strike,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said. “The FBI agents and NYPD detectives of the JTTF should be commended for the disruption of this plot. Their work almost certainly saved lives.”

On Aug. 23, Chudhary asked an undercover agent if he could instruct him on how to build a bomb and later texted another agent a screenshot of an ISIS document with a diagram of where to stab a victim on their body, according to the complaint. He also told the agent he was considering throwing explosives from the pedestrian bridges into passing traffic below.

A few days later, Chudhary bought a tactical knife, a mask, gloves and a cellphone chest and head mount online and was arrested when he went to pick up the items from the online vendor’s retail store. Prosecutors said Chudhary intended to record his attack to inspire others to commit similar acts of violence.

“As alleged, Awais Chudhary planned to kill innocent civilians on behalf of ISIS and record the bloodshed in the hope of inspiring others to commit attacks,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said. “This Office, together with the FBI, the NYPD and all members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue working tirelessly to identify ISIS sympathizers like the defendant and prevent them from carrying out their murderous intentions.”

If convicted, Chudhary faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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