An indictment unsealed today by the Dept. of Justice reveals that the foiled 2009 NYC subway terrorist attack uncovered in the Najibullah Zazi investigation was a much more ambitious plot than previously known. The NYC plot was planned to coincide with a similar suicide attack on the London transit system and was coordinated by senior leaders of al Qaeda’s external operations unit.
At the heart of this investigation is the leader of al Qaeda’s American external operations unit, Adnan el Shukrijumah, charged with planning and coordinating attacks on US soil (more in-depth piece on Shukrijumah from Thomas Joscelyn here). Along with Shukrijumah, charges have been brought against Adis Medunjanin, Tariq Ur Rehman, a man known only as “Ahmad,” “Sohaib,” or “Zahid,” and Abid Naseer – London’s would-be version of Najibullah Zazi.
From the DOJ:
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 investigation by authorities in the United States and United Kingdom has revealed that “Ahmad” was also communicating with Manchester-based, United Kingdom resident Naseer. Naseer, like Zazi, was in Peshawar, Pakistan in November 2008, according to the court filings.
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