'Muslim soldier' admits Times Square bomb plot

A terrorist linked to al-Qa'ida faces life in prison after admitting trying to use a "weapon of mass destruction" to kill indiscriminately in Times Square.

Faisal Shahzad left a crude car bomb parked in New York, which was powerful enough to have killed dozens of people and to cause substantial damage. But the bomb failed to explode as planned, instead spewing out a plume of smoke. Emergency services made the device safe.

Shahzad remained defiant yesterday when appeared before a court in Manhattan and warned that unless US forces left Muslim lands "We will be attacking the United States and I plead guilty to that".

He said, "I'm going to plead guilty and 100 times more," as he stood before US District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum who asked him if he understood he could spend the rest of his life behind bars. He said he did.

Shahzad, 30, admitted 10 charges, including the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted terrorism transcending national borders. He described himself as "a Muslim soldier" at war with the US.

He revealed that he packed his SUV with three bombs that he had rigged to explode in a huge fireball. He expected the bombs to begin going off after he lit a fuse but he gave up after waiting for up to five minutes. "I was waiting to hear a sound but I didn't hear a sound. So I walked to Grand Central and went home," he said.

When the judge asked him if he had cared that children could have been killed he responded: "One has to understand where I'm coming from. I consider myself ... a Muslim soldier.

"It's a war. I am part of the answer to the US terrorising the Muslim nations and the Muslim people. On behalf of that, I'm revenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their people but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die."

The Pakistani Taliban – Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan – has claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing and the organisation is believed to have paid Shahzad $12,000 before the attack.

Federal authorities believe that the money was channelled through an underground money transfer network known as "hawala". They doubt anyone in the US who handled the money knew what it was for but three men in Massachusetts and Maine suspected of supplying money to the bomber have been detained on immigration charges.

Shahzad has admitted he travelled to Pakistan to receive bomb-making training from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan for five weeks early this year. The SUV he left in Times Square, close to a Broadway theatre, was packed with propane cylinders, fireworks, petrol cans and other components in what was described as an amateur but potentially lethal device.

Shahzad was born in Pakistan but moved to the United States when he was 18 and last year gained US citizenship. He has a wife and two children living in Pakistan but he was living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when he carried out the attack.

He was arrested two days after the abortive bombing while he sat on a passenger airliner that was just minutes from taking off from New York's John F Kennedy International Airport for Dubai. When officials moved in to escort him from the plane he reportedly told them: "I was expecting you." US authorities have said he has co-operated with them since the arrest. Sentencing will take place on 5 October.

The bomb was made safe after Duane Jackson, a street vendor, alerted a police officer that a car had been left in Times Square with the keys in the ignition. Mr Jackson returned to the car. He said: "That's when the smoke started coming out and then we heard the little pop pop pop like firecrackers going out and that's when everybody scattered and ran back."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam