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New York man pleads guilty to helping IS group, planning knife attack

The man sent a screenshot of a document titled 'Islamic State', detailing his plans, authorities say
The Manhattan skyline rises over Calvary Cemetery in the Borough of Queens on 31 March 2020 in New York.
The Manhattan skyline rises over Calvary Cemetery in the Borough of Queens on 31 March 2020 in New York (AFP)

A man from Queens, New York pleaded guilty on Friday to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State (IS) group.

Awais Chudhary, a naturalised US citizen born in Pakistan, admitted to "planning to carry out a lone wolf terrorist attack in Queens", according to the US Justice Department.

According to the criminal complaint, Chudhary allegedly pursued plans to conduct a stabbing attack, "order[ing] online a tactical knife, a mask, gloves, and a cellphone chest and head strap to facilitate his recording of the attack".

Authorities say the 22-year-old Chudhary also sent a screenshot of a document detailing his plans, titled "Islamic State" to an undercover law enforcement agent.

Kansas woman allegedly led an all-female IS group battalion, says US Justice Department
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"As he admitted today, Mr Chudhary planned to bring terror to the people of New York City on behalf of ISIS," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll said in a statement, using another term for the IS group.

According to court filings, in August 2019 he pledged allegiance to the IS group and began to plan out his attack.

Prosecutors said he told undercover agents he planned to record attacks on the pedestrian bridges over the Grand Central Parkway to the Flushing Bay Promenade. Chudhary allegedly said he wanted to use a knife “because that’s what he knows".

Chudhary was arrested as he attempted to retrieve the items from an online retailer's locker in Queens. He will now face up to 20 years in prison.

Earlier this year, a Kansas woman was arrested by US authorities on charges of organising and leading an armed all-female battalion on behalf of the IS group.

The Justice Department said it had collected at least six individual eyewitness accounts that backed up its charges against Fluke-Ekren, most of which alleged "terrorist conduct" from at least 2014 through approximately 2017.

The witnesses also claimed she had given military-style training to more than 100 women and young girls, while a detention memo states that she trained children - including her own five- or six-year-old child - how to use assault rifles in Syria.

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