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Americas

Suspect in Times Square bomb plot says he acted alone

Video by William EDWARDS

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-04

The man arrested by US authorities in connection with a failed May 1 car bombing in New York's Times Square says he was acting alone. Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American, was detained on Monday while trying to board a plan to Dubai.

The man arrested by US authorities in connection with a failed May 1 car bombing in New York's Times Square says he acted alone and denies links to radical groups, a US law enforcement source said Tuesday.

"He's claimed to have acted alone," a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters. "He did admit to all the charges, so to speak."

"He's admitted to buying the truck, putting the devices together, putting them in the truck, leaving the truck there and leaving the scene," the source said.

US authorities detained Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American, as he was trying to board a plane from New York’s JFK airport to Dubai, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced early on Tuesday.

Holder reported the arrest at a hastily arranged press conference in Washington just after midnight local time. But he provided few details into the investigation, which he described as “ongoing, multifaceted and aggressive”.

Emirates Airlines said in a statement that three passengers were removed from flight EK202 from New York to Dubai on Monday night.

US media reports say Shahzad is a 30-year-old naturalised US citizen of Pakistani origin who is resident in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He is expected to appear at a Manhattan Federal Court later on Tuesday.

The 1993 Nissan Pathfinder

The 1993 Nissan Pathfinder that Shahzad has admitted to having bought was found loaded with gasoline, propane gas tanks and fireworks in the heart of Times Square on Saturday night.

Because the explosives in the Pathfinder failed to detonate, the car was left loaded with forensic evidence, largely intact.

The car was sold three weeks ago, according to US media reports. Quoting unnamed law enforcement sources, the New York Times disclosed that the former owner told investigators the buyer appeared to be of Middle Eastern or Hispanic descent, but that she could not recall his name. The car was paid for in cash and there was no paperwork involved in the transaction.

Shahzad became a US citizen in April 2009, making it easy for investigators to access information about his address, his appearance and fingerprints, according to CNN.

Shahzad's trips to Pakistan

Shahzad is believed to have previously travelled to Pakistan, where he reportedly spent a five-month period in Peshawar, the north-western Pakistani city considered to be the gateway to the lawless tribal region along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Reporting from Pakistan, FRANCE 24’s Stephen Kloss said Pakistani authorities were saying little about the latest incident. “This incident in New York is seen as something very embarrassing here,” said Kloss. “But certainly the US embassy in Pakistan will push authorities in Pakistan very hard to start an investigation. What will be very interesting to learn is what did Faisal Shahzad do when he was here for that five-month period. To whom did he talk and where did he go?”

A senior Pakistani government official told AFP Tuesday that the US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, has since held talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Describing it as an “initial discussion”, the official stressed that the Pakistani government would “extend its fullest cooperation to the US”. No further details were provided.

Authorities urge caution over Pakistani Taliban claim

So far, the only group to claim responsibility for the bomb plot is the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehreek-e-Taliban, a Pakistan-based group led by Hakimullah Mehsud.

Mehsud was believed to have been killed months ago, but a series of videos recently posted on the Internet, which were apparently recorded in early April, showed Mehsud warning that, "The time is very near when our fedayeen (fighters) will attack the American states in their major cities."

US authorities have, however, urged caution over suggestions that the al-Qaeda-linked group is connected to last weekend’s bomb plot.

 

Date created : 2010-05-04

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