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Man arrested for plotting to throw explosives in Times Square

Posted at 2:40 PM, Jun 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 14:40:18-04

NEW YORK -- A man has been arrested after he discussed purchasing explosives with the intention of detonating them in New York's Times Square, a law enforcement source told CNN.

The suspect expressed interest in buying firearms and grenades, and had talked about killing police and government officials in Times Square, the source said, adding that the man had been under surveillance for some time.

The man, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody Thursday, according to the New York Daily News, which cited law enforcement sources.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force along with the New York Police Department handled the operation to investigate and arrest the man.

Details about how and where the arrest happened, and how authorities learned of his intentions, are scarce. CNN affiliate WCBS, citing police sources, reported that police set up an undercover operation to catch him when he went to buy weapons.

The suspect is expected to be in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday, WCBS reported.

Times Square, the commercial and entertainment hub around Broadway and 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, draws about 380,000 pedestrians a day, according to the Times Square District Management Association, making it one of the most visited locations in the world.

The area has been the subject of terror plots before. In 2010, Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzadtried, and failed, to set off a bomb in a vehicle in Times Square, authorities said. He was arrested after street vendors tipped off police to the abandoned car.

He pleaded guilty that year to charges including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, and was sentenced to life in prison.