At a Glance | December 24

Canadian Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Plotting Terrorist Attacks in New York City

A Canadian citizen who planned to conduct attacks in New York City along with two other ISIS sympathizers received 40 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release on December 19. Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy (pictured), 20, of Missausagua, Canada, plotted with suspected co-conspirators Talha Haroon and Russell Salic to detonate explosives in Times Square and the city’s subway system, as well as open fire at concert venues, in 2016. Bahnasawy bought bomb-making materials and traveled to Cranford (Union County) to prepare for the attacks. The FBI arrested him in May 2016 after an undercover agent infiltrated the plot while posing as an ISIS supporter interested in participating in the attacks. Bahnasawy pleaded guilty to conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to provide material support and resources to ISIS, and other terrorism-related charges on October 13, 2016. Haroon, a US citizen, was arrested in Pakistan in September 2016, while Salic, a doctor accused of sending money to fund the planned attacks, was apprehended in the Philippines in April 2017. Haroon and Salic remain overseas pending extradition to the United States.

Man Found Guilty of Hate Crime in Racially Motivated Attack Outside Cincinnati Restaurant

On December 17, federal prosecutors announced the conviction of a man who assaulted an individual he believed was Jewish outside of a restaurant in Cincinnati. Izmir Koch, 33, of Huber Heights, Ohio, became the first person convicted under the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the Southern District of Ohio, US Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman said. Koch also lied to the FBI about his role in the racially motivated attack. Koch yelled out asking if anybody was Jewish while standing outside a restaurant on February 4, 2017. When a man responded that he was, Koch ran at him and punched him in the head. Koch and others continued to assault him when he fell to the ground, resulting in injuries that included a broken bone in his face and bruised ribs. Koch shouted that he wanted to kill all the Jews and stab the Jews before and during the assault. It was later revealed that the victim was not actually Jewish. Koch lied to the FBI following the incident, falsely saying in a voluntary statement that he was not involved in the attack and he had not said anything disparaging about Jews.

Florida Man Charged With Posting Bomb-Making Instructions Online

Authorities charged a Florida resident on December 14 with distributing information pertaining to explosives over the Internet. Among the details Tayyab Tahir Ismail, 33, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, is accused of posting were instructions on how to construct a bomb and other explosives. An FBI criminal affidavit said Ismail posted the information on websites frequented by extremists on at least five separate occasions between July 15 and September 17. The FBI noted Ismail also posted messages in support of ISIS and that a flag associated with the terrorist group was in the background of one of the videos he shared. The affidavit said Ismail was an associate of James Medina, who is serving 25 years in prison for his role in a plot to blow up a synagogue and Jewish school in 2016. Ismail did not face charges in that case, which was an FBI sting operation. Law enforcement became aware of Ismail in 2010, when he was accused of claiming to be an al-Qa’ida soldier and threatening to blow up a homeless shelter. Ismail faces up to 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release.

For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at or 609-584-4000.