Thursday, May 6, 2010

NYC Suspect Did Dry Run Before Car Bomb

Via (AP) -

A day before driving an SUV with a rigged homemade bomb into Times Square, a Pakistani-American made a test drive into the heart of the city, dropped off a getaway car blocks from his target and took a train home to Connecticut, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.


But while no other suspects have been identified in the U.S., federal authorities are seriously investigating whether foreign groups in Pakistan or elsewhere financed the 30-year-old ex-budget analyst's failed terrorist plot against New York, two law enforcement officials have told the AP.

One of the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, has said one funding source under investigation is the Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility for Saturday's botched bombing.

In Pakistan on Thursday, security officials said U.S. law enforcement officers have joined them in questioning four alleged members of another militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, which has been linked to the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, over possible links to Shahzad. The security officials also talked to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.


U.S. officials have said they are been unable to verify whether Shahzad trained to make bombs at a terrorist camp in Pakistan, which Shahzad told authorities he did, according to the federal complaint against him.

Kevin Barry, a retired member of the New York Police Department's bomb squad, told the AP the design of the Times Square car bomb — which included fertilizer and an improvised fireworks-and-powder detonator — showed Shahzad had sufficient training to understand the basics of rigging an explosive device. But the bomb, which included fertilizer that was incapable of exploding, was a failure.

"He was trained, but he certainly didn't graduate at the top of the class," said Barry. "He had the design and the idea."


On March 8, Shahzad bought six to eight boxes each containing 36 Silver Salute M88 fireworks from Phantom Fireworks in Matamoras, Pa., said store vice president William Wiemer. Each M88 has firepower that is less than one-sixth the size of an aspirin, the company said.

"The M88 he used wouldn't damage a watermelon. Thank goodness he used that," said Bruce Zoldan, the company's president.

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