A Brooklyn man has been arrested for plotting a terror attack on Times Square and trying to join ISIS at least five times, according to a complaint unsealed Monday.
Mohamed Rafik Naji, 37, is charged with traveling to Turkey and Yemen between March and September of last year in an effort to join the terror group, court papers filed in Brooklyn federal court say.
But in emails exchanged with his girlfriend back in the US, the Yemen-born man disclosed he faced problems crossing into ISIS-controlled areas.
“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.
Naji also hit up his lover several times for cash to fund his terrorist endeavors.
“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 allegedly sent the girlfriend video files of his “first day on the job” on April 21, 2015 — around the same time when ISIS was known to be fighting in Yemen — in which gunshots and male voices can be heard, the papers say.
Days after the terror attack in Nice, France in July, Naji was caught on wiretaps discussing with a confidential source plans to stage a similar attack in Times Square.
“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.
Feds say Naji regularly pledged his support for ISIS on Facebook — he updated his profile picture to depict two men armed with guns and walking toward an ISIS flag and posted videos of ISIS fighters in combat, the complaint says.
Naji, who is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, is expected to appear in court Monday afternoon.