Suspect pleads guilty in subway bomb plan

Zarein Ahmedzay admits to planning terrorist attack


Tom Hays
April 23, 2010 10:13PM (UTC)

A New York man charged with plotting to set off homemade bombs in the city's subway system has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.

Zarein Ahmedzay (zah-RAYN' ah-MIHD'-zay) entered the plea Friday afternoon in Brooklyn federal court.

He admitted to conspiracy to use weapons of destruction and providing material support to the al-Qaida terror network.

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Ahmedzay had pleaded not guilty to making false statements to the FBI about a plan by admitted al-Qaida associate Najibullah Zazi (nah-jee-BOO'-lah ZAH'-zee) to launch suicide bombing attacks on Manhattan subway lines.

Authorities say that Ahmedzay, Zazi and another high school classmate from New York planned the suicide bomb attacks for days after the eighth anniversary of Sept. 11.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) -- A man charged in a plot by an admitted al-Qaida associate to set off homemade bombs in the New York subway system plans to plead guilty to terror charges, two law enforcement officials said Friday.

Zarein Ahmedzay was expected to appear early Friday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn, the two officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the proceeding hadn't been formally announced. They said Ahmedzay planned to plead guilty to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, providing material support to a terrorist organization and other counts.

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There was no immediate response to a message left with Ahmedzay's lawyer. Federal prosecutors declined to comment.

Authorities allege that Ahmedzay joined the plot's mastermind, Najibullah Zazi, and another friend from their Queens high school on a trip to Pakistan in 2008 to seek terror training.

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Zazi, a Colorado airport van driver, admitted earlier this year that he tested bomb-making materials in a Denver suburb before traveling by car to New York with the intent of attacking the subway system to avenge U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.

Ahmedzay and the third suspect, Adis Medunjanin, had previously pleaded not guilty to charges they sought to join Zazi in what prosecutors described as three "coordinated suicide bombing attacks" on Manhattan subway lines. The bombings were planned for the days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, authorities said.

Prosecutors say the attacks were modeled after the London transit system bombings in July 2005, when four suicide bombers killed 52 people and themselves in an attack on three subway trains and a bus.

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The alleged New York plot was disrupted in early September when police officials stopped Zazi's car as it entered New York.

Last month, an Afghanistan-born imam linked to the suspects pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI when asked about the men. He was sentenced to time served and ordered to leave the United States.

Officials have said a fourth suspect is in custody in Pakistan, but have given no other details about him.

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Tom Hays

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