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June 25, 2019

Osama-loving terror suspect plotted to lob grenades in Times Square, discussed attacks on WTC and government official in D.C., court papers charge

June 11, 2019
Suspect Ashiqul Alam, 22, an Osama bin Laden-loving immigrant from Bangladesh, is pictured in an undated photo. (Facebook)

An aspiring terrorist and Osama bin Laden acolyte was busted after pondering plots to slaughter Times Square tourists, take out a senior U.S. government official and blast the new World Trade Center with a massive rocket launcher.

Suspect Ashiqul Alam, 22, was held without bail Friday after his arrest on weapons charges in a federal probe involving a pair of undercover law enforcers as his “collaborators.” The native of Bangladesh appeared in court wearing blue jeans, a purple shirt and red sneakers, and answered questions politely before he was taken back to jail.

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“There is more to this case than just talk and the desire to carry out a terrorist attack,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney. “Individuals who believe in the distorted and deadly propaganda of terrorist organizations and work toward acting on those deadly impulses are incredibly dangerous and unpredictable.

“Mr. Alam allegedly then took the steps to follow through on his deadly impulse, purchasing weapons to kill New Yorkers, target an elected official and attack police officers. “

The college student, who works two jobs to help his parents, suggested an assortment of terror plots to one undercover agent after the two first met last August.

One involved a scheme to hurl grenades into the multitudes of Times Square out-of-towners, another suggested targeting the new World Trade Center, and a third mentioned a suicide bombing to kill the Washington government big-wig, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

“Yeah, man, that s— is painless,” Alam told the undercover about donning a suicide vest loaded with shrapnel. “You die right away. Better than prison, right?”

As proof of his dedication to the cause, Alam mentioned to the undercover that he needed a ride back and forth from a Lasik surgery appointment to improve his vision in advance of their assault.

“Let’s say we’re in an attack, right, say that my glasses fell out,” an amused Alam explained. “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.’”

On March 14, 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.”

The young man described bin Laden’s Sept. 11 attack as “a complete success,” while noting “now it’s up to us,” court documents said.

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Alam was arrested Thursday following a sting operation that ended when the second 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.

NYPD Counter Terrorism experts do surveillance in Times Square in this Daily News file photo.
NYPD Counter Terrorism experts do surveillance in Times Square in this Daily News file photo. (SABO, ROBERT, NEW YORK DAILY NEW/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

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.’”

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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.

An unrepentant 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.

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.

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