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Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 14:53 UK

NY bomb suspect 'nearly escaped US' on Dubai flight

Faisal Shahzad, taken from social networking site Orkut.com
Police traced Mr Shahzad through the car's ID number and phone records

Details have emerged of how a Pakistan-born US citizen suspected of plotting to bomb New York's Times Square was arrested while trying to leave the US.

Faisal Shahzad, 30, was allowed on to a Dubai-bound plane at JFK Airport on Monday, despite being on a no-fly list.

It was only when customs agents checked passenger names 30 minutes before take-off that he was noticed and arrested.

Officials say Mr Shahzad admits his role in Saturday's failed attack. He faces terrorism and explosives charges.

These include attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and transporting an explosive device with the intent to kill.

"It is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in the country," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

M Ilyas Khan
M Ilyas Khan
BBC News
Mohib Banda, Pakistan

There is a sense of shock in the village of Mohib Banda near Peshawar, where Faisal Shahzad's family comes from.

Faisal Shahzad's father is a big success story for the villagers because he was a fighter pilot who rose to the position of air vice marshal in the Pakistan air force.

In general, most people don't believe that he did what he is accused of doing in New York. They say his family is too educated and well-bred.

Very few people actually know Faisal Shahzad - some haven't seen him for years, many have never met him. Those few villagers I met who did know Faisal Shahzad said they had seen changes in his personality in the past three years following his marriage. They say he grew a beard and became more withdrawn and quiet.

Mr Shahzad did not appear before a judge on Tuesday as expected to hear the charges. No reason was given for the delay.

He is alleged to have bought a car that was found loaded with an improvised bomb in Times Square.

The unexploded bomb left crucial evidence intact that detectives used to trace Mr Shahzad.

The vehicle's identity number led the police to the car's former owner, who said she had sold it to Mr Shahzad for cash without official paperwork being exchanged.

But she gave the police Mr Shahzad's mobile phone number.

Court documents allege that the pre-paid phone had also been used to call a Pennsylvania fireworks shop.

Despite his name being added to the government's no-fly list on Monday, Mr Shahzad managed to buy a ticket on an Emirates flight to Dubai and made it through JFK's security checks late that evening.

He booked the ticket while on his way to the airport and paid for it with cash, police said.

FAISAL SHAHZAD
Aged 30
Naturalised US citizen born in Pakistan
Resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut
Married - wife and two young children believed to be in Karachi
Awarded a master's in business administration from University of Bridgeport in 2005
Visited Pakistan at least eight times in recent years, according to local officials

After last-minute checks by customs agents, the flight was stopped as it taxied to the runway.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government issued a statement on Wednesday saying Mr Shahzad had been heading for Islamabad in Pakistan, and had been due to change planes in Dubai.

"At this time, UAE officials have no information that the suspect has ever entered or planned to enter the UAE," the statement said.

The car containing a bomb made from fertiliser, fireworks, petrol and propane gas tanks was left in Times Square on Saturday evening.

The 1993 Nissan Pathfinder was parked with its engine running and hazard lights flashing.

The bomb was discovered and dismantled before it could explode, after a street-vendor noticed smoke coming from the vehicle and alerted police.

Times Square was packed with tourists and theatregoers at the time.

US Attorney General Eric Holder: "There is a constant threat"

Officials said the bomb was crude, but could have sparked a "significant fireball" and sprayed shrapnel with enough force to kill pedestrians and knock out windows.

Investigators said the Connecticut resident implicated himself and told them he was acting alone.

But court documents stated that he admitted having attended a militant training camp in the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan.

He apparently told investigators the plot had begun in December last year.

Amid reports of arrests in Pakistan in connection with the case, Pakistani Interior Minister Rahman Malik said some people had been "detained for questioning", but denied any arrests had been made.

"No official arrests has been made," Mr Malik told the BBC. "No official request has come from the US to launch an investigation, but we are carrying out inquiries on our own."

How Times Square bomb plotter was arrested

The trail which led to the arrest of Times Square bomb suspect began with the discovery of a suspicious car early on Saturday evening, 1 May, close to New York's busy Times Square.
The Nissan Pathfinder was caught on cctv cameras arriving in Times Square just before 1830 EDT. A street seller raised the alarm when he noticed the car parked with its engine running and hazard lights flashing.
Police evacuated Times Square. In the car's boot they found all the ingredients for a homemade bomb including propane gas cylinders, fireworks and two clocks, a metal gun locker containing fertiliser.
From the car's vehicle identification number, police traced the woman in Connecticut who sold the car to Faisal Shahzad (pictured). She also gave police a mobile phone number and helped identify him from photographs.
Faisal Shahzad lived in this Bridgeport building. Mobile phone records showed he made several calls to Pakistan and to a fireworks store in Pennsylvania. Court documents said he had received bomb-making training in Pakistan.
Police arrested Shahzad at 2345 EDT on Monday 3 May after he boarded a flight en route to Islamabad, Pakistan. Although his name was on a no-fly list, he had been allowed onto the plane.
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