Suspected NY Bomber Charged with Terrorism

NEW YORK

A Pakistani-American man was charged on Tuesday with international terrorism in the attempted car bombing of New York’s Times Square after he was captured aboard a plane about to leave the country.

Faisal Shahzad, 30, is alleged to be the man who drove a Nissan SUV crammed with a large, but malfunctioning bomb into Manhattan’s busiest neighborhood last Saturday, as thousands flocked to theaters and other tourist attractions.

He was arrested in a dramatic scene at John F. Kennedy Airport just before midnight on Monday when his Emirates Airline flight was preparing to take off for Dubai.

The arrest came 53 hours after police found the homemade bomb literally smouldering in the SUV parked outside a theatre staging The Lion King musical. The teeming Times Square district was evacuated and a huge manhunt got underway.

On Tuesday, Shahzad underwent interrogation about alleged links in the plot to Pakistan. The criminal charges allege that he attended “bomb-making training” in Pakistan’s Wazirstan region prior to the attack.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Shahzad, a naturalised US citizen, admitted involvement in the bomb attempt.

FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said the suspect, seen in photographs as a fresh-faced, lightly bearded man, was cooperating and had “provided valuable intelligence and evidence.”

However Shahzad, born in Pakistan and made a US citizen only last year, did not appear before a judge on Tuesday as expected. He has not yet entered a plea.

Officials gave no reason for the delay.

The 10-page criminal complaint filed on Tuesday accuses the Connecticut resident of attempting “to use a weapon of mass destruction” to kill people in the crowded center of New York on Saturday.

He also faced four other charges – attempting to kill people in the United States through international terrorism, carrying a destructive device, transporting explosives and attempting to destroy a building.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

One of the most serious aspects of the case, according to officials, are possible ties between Shahzad’s alleged plot and Islamist militants in his family homeland of Pakistan.

In Karachi, security officials said they had detained two people who had been called from Shahzad’s telephone.

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