Suspect in NY Times Square Bombing Detained when Heading to Dubai

An American citizen of Pakistani origin has been arrested in connection with an attempted car bombing in New York’s Times Square, the US attorney general, Eric Holder, confirmed.

The man was officially named as Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American, and said he was arrested on Long Island, New York.

Mr Holder said the man was attempting to board a flight to Dubai.

The US attorney general added that investigations were ongoing.

Authorities had launched a massive manhunt with the FBI’s terrorism task force and local New York police to try to catch the would-be bomber.

MSNBC said the 30-year-old man had been linked to a sport utility vehicle seized with explosives late Saturday in the busy New York district.

The police sources told US media that the man had recently returned from a trip to Pakistan and three weeks ago paid cash for the Nissan Pathfinder SUV used in the attempted bombing.

It was sold by the vehicle’s registered owner in Connecticut about three weeks ago without official paperwork changing hands, police said earlier.

When authorities recovered the SUV it was laden with three propane tanks, dozens of firecrackers, two tanks of gasoline and fertiliser, and parked at the corner or West 45th Street and Broadway, an area full of pedestrians.

Police released security camera footage shot just after the car was abandoned with its engine running and hazard lights flashing.

It showed a white man in his 40s stopping in the street near the car, looking around and taking off his dark shirt, revealing a red one underneath.

Stuffing the shirt into a bag, the man glanced back towards the now smoking car and he walked off in the opposite direction.

Raymond Kelly, the chief of New York’s police, said the man was acting in a “furtive” manner.

Investigators were also expected to release another videotape, shot by a tourist, which was expected to show a man running north on Broadway away from the area.

As city leaders appealed to New Yorkers to return to work as usual, they said there was no evidence yet of any link with al-Qaeda or any other international terror group.

However, they still believe the attempt had a terrorist motive, suggesting that it could have been the work of home-grown militants.

Investigators are also examining similarities with the 2007 attacks on Glasgow Airport and the Tiger Tiger nightclub in London.

These also involved propane gas and cans of petrol that were to be ignited by electronic detonators.

Police said the Times Square contained three barbecue-style canisters of propane, two plastic five-gallon petrol containers, firecrackers and at least 200lb of non-explosive fertiliser inside a 4’6″ tall metal gun locker.

Officials said the bomb could have produced a “significant fireball”, splitting the car in half and killing pedestrians.

As officers trawled through hundreds of hours of surveillance video, a confident Mr Holder said that police had “some good leads”.

He said officers had flown to Pennsylvania to interview a tourist who had inadvertently filmed a man running up Broadway in a second video. The footage will also be released in the hope that it provides new information.

Both Mr Kelly and Michael Bloomberg, the city’s mayor, dismissed a Pakistani Taliban group’s claim of responsibility.

Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary, described the bomb attempt as a “one-off” and said there was no evidence of a wider plot.

But she cautioned against “premature decisions” as to who was behind the attempt.

Thousands were evacuated on Saturday night and the area closed off for 11 hours after a T-shirt seller alerted a mounted policeman to smoke coming from a vehicle with tinted windows.

New York has been on constant watch since the September 11, 2001, airliner attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, killing almost 3,000 people.

So far, the only group to claim responsibility for the would-be bombing is the Pakistani militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban.

source: telegraph.co.uk

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