Guilty pleas were entered in Miami today from two Pakistani-born brothers, described as naturalized U.S. citizens, accused of plotting to carry out a “lone wolf” jihad bombing in New York City in 2012.
According to a Reuters report, 32-year-old Sheheryar Alam Qazi and his 22-year-old brother Raees were angered by “the deaths of people killed by drone attacks in Afghanistan.” They hatched a plan to bomb a crowded area in New York City, although they were living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at the time. The younger brother, Raees, went as far as journeying to the Big Apple in an effort to get a job, save up money for a bomb, and choose a target. The expedition petered out after four days when he ran out of money.
“During recorded phone calls, Raees Alam Qazi asked about the size of crowds at Times Square, Wall Street and at some New York City theaters,” the FBI revealed. He was reportedly researching explosives, with his reading list including the infamous al-Qaeda article called “Make a Bomb In the Kitchen Of Your Mom.”
The older brother, Sheheryar, actually described Raees as “a lone wolf, like the Times Square bomber,” and was said to be unaware of some details of his brother’s plan. Sheheryar nevertheless ended up pleading guilty to “conspiring to provide material support to terrorists as well as conspiring to assault a federal employee.” The Miami Herald says Raees could be sentenced to up to 32 years in prison, while his less-involved older brother might be looking at 17. Sheheryar Qazi’s wife was also said to be aware of the plot but was described as an “unindicted co-conspirator.”
The latter charge stems from an assault on deputy U.S. Marshals after the brothers were arrested, according to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel: “Authorities said the brothers distracted the guards by simultaneously looking up and then punched and fought with the marshals while yelling out ‘God is Great’ in Arabic.”
Raees Qazi also pled guilty to charges of attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda. He journeyed to Pakistan and tried to hook up with insurgents in Afghanistan sometime in late 2011, but terrorist leaders in Yemen told him to stay in the United States and carry out terror attacks on American soil. He was active on jihad message forums and YouTube channels and was taken down with the help of FBI informants who reported him talking about his eagerness to carry out the instructions of his al-Qaeda “handlers.”