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Philippines: NY ‘Plotter’ was Allegedly Doctor to Pro-ISIS Militants | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A photo of billboards in Times Square outside of the Thomson Reuters office in New York. Reuters file photo

The Philippines military said on Monday that a Filipino doctor wanted over a foiled terrorist plot in New York previously treated pro-ISIS gunmen in the mountains of the country’s south.

Russell Salic, 37, had links to the Maute group, which since May had been occupying parts of Marawi city in a bid to establish a so-called ISIS “caliphate” in Southeast Asia, Philippine authorities said. 

“He was among those who were treating wounded members of the Maute group,” military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo told AFP.

Another military spokesman, Major-General Restituto Padilla, told reporters Salic had performed these tasks in visits to Maute training camps before the Marawi attack.

“That’s why his nom de guerre or nickname, based on our information, was ‘Doc’ or ‘Doctor,'” Padilla added. 

Salic, who has been in Philippines custody since April, is wanted by US prosecutors after he and two other were indicted over a plan to conduct bombings and shootings in Times Square, New York’s subway system and concert venues in the name of ISIS.

US prosecutors have said that the attacks were planned for Ramadan last year.

One alleged plotter is already in US custody while the second is in Pakistani custody.

Salic is accused of wiring $423 to the US to help fund the plot, the American justice department said.

He and the suspect in Pakistan now face legal proceedings seeking their extradition to the US.

Salic is under investigation in Manila over his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and beheading of two sawmill workers in April 2016 in the southern rural town of Butig, which the military had blamed on the Maute group.