A New York City man was arrested for plotting a terror attack on Times Square and attempting to join ISIS five times, according to a complaint that was unsealed Monday.
Mohamed Rafik Naji, 37 of Brooklyn, was charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization after traveling to Turkey and Yemen between March and September of last year in an attempt to join ISIS, the New York Post reported.
According to emails he exchanged with his girlfriend back in the U.S., he said he faced problems getting into ISIS-controlled areas and hit her up for money to fund his quest to become a terrorist.
“It’s very hard to get in I’m on my 5 try its difficult mad po po military and ppl here very scared,” he allegedly wrote to his girlfriend.
“Hunny 1 last favor $2 grand for plane ticket and to get back I promise I’ll pay u back when I get there,” he wrote her on April 4, 2015. “It’s hard then [sic] I thought m [sic] tired hiding n mountains for 3 weeks it’s very very hard wallah,” he added using the Arabic expression for “I promise by God.”
Naji was caught on wiretaps discussing with a confidential source on how to bomb Times Square shortly after the terror attacks in Nice, France in July.
“I was saying if there is a truck, I mean a garbage truck and one drives it there to Times-Square and crushes them shshshshshsh…Times-Square day,” he allegedly told the source on July 19.
“They want an operation in Times-Square, reconnaissance group already put out a scene, the Islamic State already put up scenes of Times-Square, you understand. I said that was an indication for whoever is smart to know,” he added.
Naji pledged his support for ISIS on Facebook, the complaint said.
Naji is expected to be in court on Monday.
The FBI has warned of potential terror threats on Thanksgiving, along with the Department of Homeland Security.
An Ohio man was arrested for attempting to join ISIS earlier this month.