April 23rd, 2010
02:45 PM ET

Officials: New York subway terror suspect pleads guilty

Zarein Ahmedzay pleaded guilty to charges he plotted a terror attack on New York City's subway system.

Zarein Ahmedzay pleaded guilty Friday to terrorism charges stemming from his role in an al-Qaeda plot to "conduct coordinated suicide bombings" on New York’s subway system in September 2009, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Prosecutors say Ahmedzay and another man, Adis Medunjanin, conspired with Najibullah Zazi on the attack in mid-September 2009.

Ahmedzay, 25, pleaded guilty to the following charges: Conspiracy to use a weapon of mass of destruction in the U.S.; conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country; and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, namely al Qaeda. Ahmedzay faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Security Brief: 'Home-grown jihadists' a growing headache for FBI

Ahmedzay listened intently in court and swiveled from side to side in his chair as the judge made sure he understood what entering a guilty plea meant. He responded that everything was clear to him and then stood up to make a statement detailing his role in the terror plot.

Ahmedzay started his statement with a quote from the Quran and ended with a message to Americans.

"I strongly urge the American people to stop supporting the war against Islam," Ahmedzay said. He added "I am thankful for myself that I did not do anything to harm anyone but fear someone else will do the same thing."

During Ahmedzay's hearing, prosecutors for the first time revealed the name of the two al Qaeda leaders who ordered the plot - Saleh al-Somali, head of international operations for al Qaeda, and Rashid Rauf, a key operative.

–CNN's Jen Rizzo contributed to this report.

soundoff (61 Responses)
1 2 3 4 5