Pak based al Qaeda leaders directed attack against US and UK
The United States on Wednesday said senior al-Qaeda leadership based in Pakistan directed attacks on the New York sub way system, and plotted to use western operatives to attack targets in Britain.
Washington: The United States on Wednesday said
senior al-Qaeda leadership based in Pakistan directed attacks
on the New York sub way system, and plotted to use western
operatives to attack targets in Britain.
The Department of Justice today unsealed charges
against five alleged members of al-Qaeda, including Adnan
Shukrijumah whose name is on the FBI`s list of most-wanted
terrorists, for plotting attacks on the United States and
The charges reveal that the plot against New York`s
subway system uncovered in September 2009 involving Colorado
resident Najibullah Zazi was directed by senior al-Qaeda
leadership in Pakistan, and was also directly related to a
scheme by al-Qaeda plotters in Pakistan to use Western
operatives to attack a target in the United Kingdom.
The superseding indictment, which was returned and
unsealed today in the Eastern District of New York, charges
the five defendants each with several terrorism violations.
Apart from Shukrijumah, who is also known as "Hamad",
other defendants are Adis Medunjanin alias "Mohammad;" Abid
Naseer; Tariq Ur Rehman; and a fifth defendant known as
"Ahmad," "Sohaib" or "Zahid."
Each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of
life in prison if convicted.
According to the indictment, court filings and plea
proceedings in the case, the plot involving Zazi was organised
by Saleh al-Somali, Rashid Rauf, and El Shukrijumah, who were
then-leaders of al-Qaeda`s "external operations" program
dedicated to terrorist attacks in the United States and other
Between September and December 2008, Saleh and El
Shukrijumah recruited Zazi and Zazi`s co-conspirators, Zarein
Ahmedzay and Medunjanin, to conduct suicide bombings in New
York City using improvised explosive devices made from
supplies such as hydrogen peroxide, acetone, flour and oil.
According to the indictment and court filings, Saleh
communicated with Zazi through "Ahmad," an al-Qaeda
facilitator in Peshawar, Pakistan.
In early September 2009, after Zazi constructed the
detonator explosives for the attack, he emailed with "Ahmad"
in Pakistan about the proper ingredients for the flour-based
main charge explosive.
Zazi pleaded guilty to his role in the New York subway
plot on February 22, 2010; Ahmedzay similarly pleaded guilty
on April 23, 2010.
The indictment adds formal charges against El
Shukrijumah, a 34-year-old native of Saudi Arabia who served
as one of the leaders of al-Qaeda`s external operations
According to the indictment, El Shukrijumah recruited
Zazi, Ahmedzay, and Medunjanin to return to the United States
and conduct terrorist attacks there.
El Shukrijumah has been wanted by the FBI for several
years and is the subject of a USD 5 million reward for
information leading to his arrest. He remains at large.
The investigation by authorities in the United States
and United Kingdom has revealed that "Ahmad" was also
communicating with Manchester-based, British resident Naseer.
Naseer, like Zazi, was in Peshawar, Pakistan in
November 2008, according to the court filings.
After returning to the United Kingdom, Naseer sent
messages back and forth to the same email account that "Ahmad"
was using to communicate with the American-based al-Qaeda cell
on behalf of Saleh, the indictment and court filings allege.
In the messages, Naseer used coded language to refer
to different types of explosives.
At the culmination of the plot, in early April 2009,
Naseer, again using coded language, told "Ahmad" that he was
planning a large "wedding" for numerous guests between April
15 and 20, 2009, and that "Ahmad" should be ready.
Notably, "Ahmad" and Zazi had agreed on a similar code
to mean the attack was ready to be executed, and Zazi emailed
Ahmad that "the marriage is ready" just before he left
Colorado for New York in early September 2009.
On April 8, 2009, Naseer and Rehman were arrested in
the United Kingdom on terrorism charges.
In connection with the arrests, U K authorities
conducted searches of the plotters` homes, where they found
large quantities of flour and oil, as well as surveillance
photographs of public areas in Manchester and maps of
Manchester`s city center posted on the wall, with one of the
locations from the surveillance photographs highlighted.
Naseer is currently in custody in the United Kingdom.
The United States intends to seek his extradition to
face trial. Rehman is not in custody.
The superseding indictment also adds new charges to
the pending indictment against Medunjanin.
Specifically, the indictment charges that, in
furtherance of the New York plot, and, after Zazi was already
in custody, Medunjanin attempted to crash his car into another
car on the Whitestone Expressway in Queens, NY as a last
attempt to carry out a suicide attack on American soil.
Just before crashing his car, Medunjanin called 911 to
identify himself and announce his intentions.
Medunjanin remains in federal custody in the United
States. No trial date has been set.
Medunjanin is charged with conspiring to use weapons
of mass destruction; conspiring to commit murder abroad;
providing and conspiring to provide material support to
al-Qaeda; receiving military training from al-Qaeda;
committing and attempting to commit an act of terrorism
transcending national boundaries; and using firearms and a
destructive device in relation to the above offenses.
Shukrijumah and "Ahmad" are each charged with
providing and conspiring to provide material support to
al-Qaeda; conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction;
assisting the receipt of military training; committing and
attempting to commit an act of terrorism transcending national
boundaries; and using firearms in relation to the same
"Ahmad" is also charged together with Naseer and
Rehman with providing and conspiring to provide material
support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device
in relation to the UK branch of the plot.