Philippines agrees to extradite doctor linked to Times Square terror plot

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Times Square
Salic and Times Square, one of the venues he discussed attacking.

The Philippines has agreed to extradite a doctor linked to an Islamic State plot to target New York concert venues, subway stations and Times Square. 

Presiding Judge Rosalyn Mislos-Loja granted the US request in a July 23 ruling, which The Associated Press obtained today (Friday, July 27). 

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Russell Langi Salic, who is detained in Manila, has denied the charges and opposed his extradition. He is expected to appeal.

As we reported last year, US prosecutors believe Salic was one of three IS supporters who plotted bombings and shootings in 2016. The plot was thwarted by US agents.

Salic was taken into custody in Manila last year. Canadian citizen Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy was arrested in the US in 2016 and has pleaded guilty, and an American of Pakistani origin, Talha Haroon, was arrested in Pakistan in the same year.

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Salic is alleged to have sent about $423 from the Philippines in May 2016 to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Islamic extremist to help fund the attacks. Salic told the agent he intended to continue sending money in support of IS, according to court documents.

The documents said Salic, who used the alias Abu Khalid, told the agent that his ultimate goal was to join IS in Syria but added that “it would be a great pleasure if we can slaughter” people in New York.

In addition to the $423, Salic allegedly made multiple money transfers in 2015 and 2016 in support of IS ranging from $180 to $435 to Australia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Bosnia and Palestine.

The funds were sent through an international money transfer agency in Cagayan de Oro city, where Salic had worked as a hospital doctor. He has claimed that the money was intended for a charity.

As well as the US charges, Salic also faces separate criminal complaints for alleged involvement in the abduction of six sawmill workers, two of whom were later beheaded, in Butig town in Lanao del Sur province in 2016, an allegation he denies.

Salic could face either the US or Philippine case first, depending on the decision of Filipino authorities.

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