'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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015