Queens Student Accused Of Planning ISIS Terrorist Attack In New York City

Queens Student Accused Of Planning ISIS Terrorist Attack In New York City
New York City Aurelien Guichard / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

A Queens college student, suspected of planning a terrorist attack on New York City on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has been taken into custody.


Munther Omar Saleh, a 20-year-old student, appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court last Saturday following his arrest on June 7, as reported by CBS New York.

Saleh was studying a course in electrical circuitry in a Queens college.

Saleh had articulated his beliefs and shown his support for ISIS related activities – the Charlie Hebdo incident, the fatal burning of a Jordanian pilot, terror attack in Garland, Texas, and the beheading of a Japanese journalist – on social media.

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Saleh was spotted by a Port Authority cop near the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey on March 22. Saleh asked the cop for a ride, but the cop refused and asked the 20-year-old to take the bus. Saleh didn’t.

Saleh was again noticed by the same cop the next day on the span on the New York side. According to the court papers, “Saleh was looking around repeatedly while walking along the bridge.”

Upon being interviewed at a Port Authority office in New Jersey, Saleh denied repeatedly being a member of or working for the ISIS and expressed his opposition to the terrorist organization’s beliefs. A search of his computer, conducted on his consent, revealed numerous files belonging to ISIS propaganda. However, Saleh denied having any knowledge about them.

His computer also contained search inquiries related to making electronic circuitry and weapons, including instructions on how to make pressure cooker bombs. In addition to research on assault rifles, body armor, knives, ammo and crossbows, also found on his computer were pictures of New York City landmarks and several tourist sports – which court records claimed were “potential targets for a terrorist attack.”

The same was reiterated in the papers, which said that Saleh “viewed images on the Internet of various notable New York City landmarks and tourist attractions.” According to the agent, “Saleh viewed this information to assess potential targets for a terrorist attack.”

According to WABC-TV, Saleh told a confidential informant he was “in NY and trying to do an Op,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said.

A criminal complaint revealed that Saleh was “making efforts to prepare an explosive device for detonation” in New York because he thought that al-Qaeda was getting soft. On September 10 last year, he had tweeted, “I fear AQ,” referring to Al Qaeda, “could be getting too moderate”

According to New York Post, Saleh was noticed entering a Queens spy shop on May 10, but he came out without buying anything. Later in the day, he browsed online for articles such as “watches, vacuum cleaners, lamps and vehicles including vans and motor cycles,” according to the papers, that feds believe could be used to carry out a terrorist attack.

On Saturday, Saleh was arrested after being seen driving on the Whitestone Expressway. After taking “several steps” towards an unmarked police car, he started running towards the law enforcement officers before being detained.

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