Toward the end of last year, two Pakistani men were arrested after scouting targets in New York City for a bomb plot. Their emphasis was on areas with large crowds and street traffic.
Mr. [Raees] Qazi said in his post-arrest statement that he was riding around on his bike in New York City looking for targets but he never specifically picked one,” FBI Special Agent Kristine Holden testified in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.
The younger Qazi also tried to determine how big the crowds were in Times Square, on Wall Street and at theaters in the city, the agent said.
The prosecutors said he was motivated by the lectures of the late radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a drone strike in Yemen, and by Inspire magazine. The online magazine is produced by the terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and it has carried articles on how to make bombs.
Last year, Inspire Magazine suggested targeting large crowds including market-places, sporting and social events.
Writing in the online magazine of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Inspire, the terrorist known as Abu Musab al-Suri listed what he called “the most important enemy targets.”
This is done by targeting human crowds in order to inflict maximum human losses,” he wrote. “This is very easy since there are numerous such targets such as crowded sports arenas, annual social events, large international exhibitions, crowded market-places, skyscrapers, crowded buildings … etc.”
“It is possible for ordinary Resistance fighters among the Muslims residing in America and the allied Western countries to target them, in order to participate in the jihad and the Resistance, and to stretch out a helping hand to the mujahidun [Islamic warriors].”
It is likely that the Qazis got their idea from Inspire and the Times Square Bomber. While we still don’t know exactly who was responsible for the Marathon Massacre, it does fit the trajectory of Al Qaeda terrorist plots.