Najibullah Zazi pleads guilty in plot to bomb New York subway

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant, pleaded guilty to conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organisation, on Monday in United States District Court in Brooklyn, New York. He was a part of the plot to detonate explosives in New York's subway system in late 2009. He admitted participation in a suicide attack conspiracy led by the Al-Qaeda. According to him, this was in protest of US presence in Afghanistan. He will be sentenced on June 25 and faces a possible life term without parole.

Zazi said in court he was recruited by Al-Qaida in Peshawar, while on a visit to join anti-American insurgency in 2008 and went into a training camp in Waziristan. He refused to identify his trainers and recruiters. Zazi had decided "I would sacrifice myself to bring attention to what the U.S. military was doing to civilians in Afghanistan."

Cquote1.svg I would sacrifice myself to bring attention to what the U.S. military was doing to civilians in Afghanistan Cquote2.svg

—Najibullah Zazi

He admitted receiving weapons training at the camp and knowledge about explosives. He tried to build homemade explosives using cosmetic products. Zazi then went to New York just before the eighth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. He planned to assemble the bombs there and detonate them in the following days.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said at a news conference that the Zazi case represented one of the most serious threats to the United States since the 9/11 attacks. "Were it not for the combined efforts of the law enforcement and intelligence communities, it could have been devastating," he said. "This attempted attack on our homeland was real, it was in motion and it would have been deadly."

Zazi, who was born in Afghanistan, raised in Pakistan and later attended high school in Queens, New York and lived in Colorado, had cooperated with the authorities in recent weeks and had worked out an agreement with them regarding his plea bargain.

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