Terror suspect Zazi pleads guilty to NYC bomb plot

09:16, February 23, 2010      

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Najibullah Zazi, a former Denver airport shuttle driver in the U.S. state of Colorado pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to use bombs in the United States, to commit murder in a foreign country and to support al-Qaida.

Najibullah Zazi (C) is escorted by U.S. Marshals after a helicopter landing at a New York Police Department facility in Brooklyn, New York, September 25, 2009. Zazi was flown from Denver, Colorado, earlier in the day and will be held in New York until a September 29 hearing at a U.S. District Court. Zazi, who was arrested on September 19, is charged with plotting bomb attacks in the United States. Picture taken September 25, 2009.(Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

The 25-year-old native of Afghanistan but legal permanent resident of the United States entered the plea before Chief U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn, NY, who scheduled sentencing for June 25. Zazi faces a life in prison.

He faces a life prison sentence without parole in the plea deal.

Zazi was arrested in September 2009 as part of the 2009 U.S. Al Qaeda group accused of planning to carry out acts of terrorism against the United States. FBI said he attended courses and received instruction on weapons and explosives at an Al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan in 2008.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (C) speaks during a news conference with next to FBI Deputy Director John Pistole (R) and Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Benton Campbell at the Justice Department in Washington February 22, 2010.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

On September 9, 2009, he rented a car, to drive from his home in Denver, Colorado, to New York City. According to The New York Times, this trip triggered a series of arrests on September 15, 2009.

Investigators are cited as saying Zazi was caught on surveillance video purchasing items in a beauty supply store in Colorado that could be used to make a bomb, which would be detonated in time for the eighth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Charges have also been filed against Zazi's father for allegedly trying to destroy chemicals and other evidence in his son's case. He was released last week on bail.

"This was one of the most serious terrorist threats to our nation since Sept.11, 2001, and were it not for the combined efforts of the law enforcement and intelligence communities, it could have been devastating," said Attorney General Eric Holder, in Washington.

"This attempted attack on our homeland was real, it was in motion, and it would have been deadly," he said. "We were able to thwart this plot because of careful analysis by our intelligence agents and prompt actions by law enforcement. They deserve our thanks and praise."

Source: Xinhua
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