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. chitown19

    Profiling will make everyone feel better. Throw them all in jail. They hate Americans.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ali

    It's all this Islamophobia and the ostracizing of muslims in the United States that's causing more and more people to go to that side.

    You've got to realize that it's only a handful of muslims that are like this, but naturally the normal ones wouldn't hog the limelight like these radicals do because, well, they aren't really doing anything.

    Please stop stereotyping (I know all the kick muslims out and comments will come anyways, but I had to write this)

    April 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gary

    I'm glad that this individual did not succeed and that he had the decency to plead guilty. There is no war on Islam. We have Muslim soldiers, Muslim nations as allies and we go to extraordinary lengths to avoid innocent civilian casualties in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somolia, Pakistan and Yemen. Overwhelmingly, most Muslims killed in these countries were killed by Al Queada or the Taliban. These two organizations have intentionally targeted innocent civilian Muslims. These two organizations are both our enemies as well as enemies of Muslims. That is where this man's anger should be directed.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. don

    He should be punished severely;.. Make him listen to the Rush Limbaugh program !!

    April 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hamada

    Still, I am sure, our government would keep our ports of entry weclome for more such ilks

    April 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. no mercy

    id say we should let this guy sit in prison and see what a real weapon on mass destruction looks like. hahaha

    April 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dennis

    How do we convince the Islamic World that we are NOT warring against Islam, but against those in the Islamic world that war against us? I don't know that we could ever effectively do so....as such the war will continue.....with no end in site...our cities are targets....terror is their means to the end....I ask again, what do we do?

    April 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. van

    ya....and is it ANY wonder now why we need immigration reform???? I think every major city is pretty much FULL of people anyway. Maybe time to just stop adding to the mix for a while. We trust too many people that come from countries that DESPISE Western ways....and see what happens? Impossible to weed the bad from the good, so just NO MORE. Secure your country like others do....maybe you wouldn't have to go fight someone else's wars.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. flora

    Answer to Dennis
    what about stop supporting Israel with blind eyes to start? Stop give israel weapon to used against the palestinian? what about stop supporting genocide in Israel is long is Israel doing it? what about being a fair broker instead of let AIPAC run our country? this should be a start to stop all the home grown crazy people whom see us being against their religion not against violence

    April 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob from Pitt

    Listen... please listen...

    Thouse guys are angry because""of the Christian Armies on Holy Land.."" that means the US army in Saudi, they been saying that for a long time, nobody is listening.. That is the reason Bin Laden gave to attack and kill so many people on 9/11,

    It seems ridicules to me, but that is their reason to inflict so much suffering on inocent people..

    April 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LividEmerald

    If we were truly at war with Islam, would we be debating the ethics of waterboarding? I hope Zarein Ahmedzay enjoys his martyrdom in the slammer. My guess is that he will be given a rug, a Quran, and a counselor of Islamic faith.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. aghast

    In response to ,"How do we convince the Islamic World that we are NOT warring against Islam, but against those in the Islamic world that war against us?"

    We could start by not invading the country that had nothing to do with September 11th. and then occupying it for 7 years causing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis to die.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. linda

    of course the ridiculous comments about immigration reform...no doubt from small town joes...i lived in new york, it is filled with hundreds of thousands of good immigrants (and by the way, every single person writing here had family members that immigrated here), but one bad apple, and we all act like the xenophobes that we are!! that's great, make ourselves look as bad and as ignorant as the third world folk.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. William

    Absolutely – we should get the hell out of the Middle East but Islam is a religion bent on destruction regardless of the issue. Close all embassies in any country that despises us and let them self-rule. Perhaps after a few decades of self annihilation, they will come to appreciate what the industrialized world has to offer.. No more asylum seekers or refugees claiming persecution. Let them llive in the stone age, where women are subserviant, children abused and education is relegated for men pursuing religious enlightment. In order to live and work in America, an individual would have to renounce their religioun and put country first. Period!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Curious cat

    Ali- I agree not all muslims are terrorists however, I don't see the "peaceful" muslims doing anything to curb the spread of terrorism. I don't even see them issue a fatwa or even condemn those who commit such horrific acts. Remember, inaction amounts to acquiescence.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
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