ISIS-linked doc facing extradition to US

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Filipino charged with plotting to attack NYC's subway and Times Square

MANILA A Filipino suspect in a thwarted jihadist plot targeting New York City's subway and Times Square will face extradition proceedings to the United States, the Philippine Justice Secretary said yesterday.

Russell Salic and two others have been charged with being involved in the plan to stage the attacks in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during Ramadan last year.

Salic was arrested in the Philippines in April and Washington 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 yesterday that Salic was in the custody of the country's National Bureau of Investigation.

Salic, a 37-year-old doctor, transferred US$423 (S$579) in May last year to the other suspects to help fund the operation, according to US court documents released on Friday.

The plot was foiled by an undercover FBI agent, US authorities announced on Friday.

The agent had posed as an ISIS supporter and communicated with Salic and his two alleged accomplices: Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian who purchased bomb-making materials, and Talha Haroon, a 19-year-old American 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.

Yesterday, Gen Ano said Salic had sent funds to other nations for the ISIS "terrorist network".

Salic is also under investigation in the Philippines over kidnapping and murder charges, and those probes will continue pending a decision on the extradition proceedings, the presidential palace said.

"The Philippines shares information and extends full cooperation with partners on matters pertaining to terrorism," presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement. - AFP