Philip­pines to ex­tra­dite NY 'plot­ter' to US

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - News Plus -

A Filipino sus­pect in a thwarted ji­hadist plot tar­get­ing New York's sub­way and Times Square will be ex­tra­dited to the United States, the Philip­pine jus­tice sec­re­tary said on Sun­day.

Rus­sell Salic and two others have been charged with in­volve­ment in the plan to carry out the at­tacks in the name of the Is­lamic State group dur­ing the Mus­lim holy month of Ra­madan in 2016.

Salic was ar­rested in the Philip­pines in April 2017 and the US had re­quested his ex­tra­di­tion, the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice said.

"It only means that we have to be­gin the ex­tra­di­tion pro­ceed­ings be­ing re­quested," Philip­pine Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre said in a state­ment with­out giv­ing a time­frame.

"We have a process to be fol­lowed and this has been done many times in the past."

The Philip­pine mil­i­tary chief, Gen­eral Ed­uardo Ano, said on Sun­day that Salic was in the cus­tody of the coun­try's Na­tional Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Salic, a 37-year-old Filipino doc­tor, trans­ferred $423 in May 2016 to the other sus­pects for the op­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to US court doc­u­ments re­leased on Fri­day.

Mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing New York's sub­way, Times Square and some con­cert venues were iden­ti­fied as tar­gets in the plot that was foiled by an un­der­cover FBI agent, US au­thor­i­ties an­nounced Fri­day.

The agent posed as an IS sup­porter and com­mu­ni­cated with Salic and his two al­leged ac­com­plices: Ab­dul­rah­man El Bah­na­sawy, a 19-year-old Cana­dian who pur­chased bomb­mak­ing ma­te­ri­als, and Talha Ha­roon, a 19-year-old Amer­i­can cit­i­zen liv­ing in Pak­istan.

A com­plaint signed by the agent quoted mes­sages sent by Salic to others in­volved in the plot in which he de­scribed ter­ror laws in the Philip­pines as "not strict" in com­par­i­son to coun­tries such as Aus­tralia and the UK.

Salic was an orthopaedic sur­geon as­so­ci­ated with a hos­pi­tal in the south­ern Philip­pine city of Ca­gayan de Oro, the com­plaint said.

The restive south of the mainly Catholic Philip­pines is home to a decades-old Mus­lim sep­a­ratist in­sur­gency and ex­trem­ist gangs that have de­clared al­le­giance to IS.

On Sun­day the Philip­pine mil­i­tary chief said Salic sent funds to other na­tions for the "IS ter­ror­ist net­work".

"He is pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port to sev­eral ex­trem­ists or sus­pi­cious ter­ror­ists in the Mid­dle East, in the US, Malaysia," Ano told re­porters.

"He was very ac­tive on so­cial me­dia, web­sites that groups re­lated to ISIS have been us­ing," Ano said us­ing an­other name for IS.

Au­thor­i­ties had been mon­i­tor­ing Salic's ac­tiv­i­ties since 2014, Ano added.

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