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Man charged in NYC subway terror plot pleads guilty

April 23, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York man who authorities say plotted with an admitted al-Qaida associate to set off homemade bombs in the city's subway system pleaded guilty Friday to charges including conspiracy to use weapons of destruction.

Zarein Ahmedzay said in court in Brooklyn that he had received orders from leaders of the al-Qaida terrorist network to carry out the foiled plot in September 2009 to bomb Manhattan subway lines. He also pleaded guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida.

Authorities say he joined admitted al-Qaida associate Najibullah Zazi and another friend from their Queens high school on a trip to Pakistan in 2008 to seek terrorism training.

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.

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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.

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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