- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2019

A 22-year-old man accused of plotting a shooting rampage in New York City’s Times Square is in federal custody, prosecutors said Friday.

The man, identified as Ashiqul Alam of Queens, New York, will appear in a Brooklyn court Friday on gun-related charges. Prosecutors say he tried to purchase two semi-automatic pistols with removed serial numbers promoting his arrest Thursday.

Although Mr. Alam is not facing any terrorism charges, court documents allege he praised various terrorist attacks, including 9/11.

“The defendant made a number of statements of admiration for various terrorist organizations,including the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham,” according to court documents.

Mr. Alam, a Bangladeshi living as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., also made statements that he wanted to see the “flat of Islam on the Twin Towers or Empire State building, according to a compliant filed in a New York federal court.

In addition to the gun, Mr. Alam also discussed acquiring a suicide bomb vest and grenades saying “the more the better” when it came to explosives and shrapnel. He also told the informant of his desire to shoot homosexuals and get laser eye surgery to improve his shooting skills, prosecutors said.

Court records say he was so obsessed with laser surgery, he worried his glasses would fall off during the attack and the media would label him “blind terrorist” or “the Looney Tunes terrorist,” according to court records.

Authorities had been tracking Mr. Alam since August 2018 and an uncover informant began communicating with him. In January, he allegedly used a cellphone to take surveillance footage of Times Square and identify possible targets.

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