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Al Qaeda still operates terror camps in Pak: US

Last updated on: July 08, 2010 13:03 IST

A fresh chargesheet filed by the US Department of Justice in a terror case shows that Al Qaeda is still running terrorist training camps in Pakistan.

The Justice Department pointed to this while stating that the plot to bomb New York's subway system, uncovered in September 2009, was directed by senior Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.

It also said the leadership plotted to use western operatives to attack targets in Britain.

The 11-page chargesheet, which was filed in a New York federal court, said that five of the accused had received training from Al Qaeda in Waziristan in 2008 and early 2009. US prosecutors have accused Al Qaeda leadership of directing the accused to attack the New York subway system last year.

The Department of Justice unsealed charges against the 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 US and UK.

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.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner, however, said the US has received "significant counter-terrorism co-operation" from Pakistan.

The superseding indictment, which was returned and unsealed on Wednesday in the Eastern District of New York, charges the five defendants each with several terrorism violations. David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said these charges underscore the global nature of the terrorist threat.

"They further reflect the effectiveness of mutual investigations and cooperation with our global partners in disrupting terrorism threats," he said.

Sean Joyce, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI's National Security Branch, said: "The threat posed by terrorists around the world is a threat to security and a threat to the rule of law."

The trans-national nature of the conspiracy, and its connection to plots targeted outside the US underscores the importance of international coordination and collaboration to do everything to ensure public safety, the official said.

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' programme dedicated to terrorist attacks in the United States and other Western countries.

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 programme.

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