Al -Qaeda commander Rashid Rauf ordered New York subway attacks
April 26, 2010
British al-Qaeda commander planned July 7-style attack on New York subway
A British al-Qaeda commander planned to emulate the July 7 London suicide bombings with a coordinated attack on the New York subway system, it has emerged.
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
Rashid Rauf, who also planned the transatlantic airlines plot, allegedly told three Americans to attack targets in the United States.
His role in the plot emerged as a man pleaded guilty to the plot which was cracked by the FBI last September after a tip off from British intelligence.
It would have been the biggest attack on US soil since September 11, according to the US Attorney General, Eric Holder.
Rauf's role in the New York plot emerged as Zarein Ahmedzay, a 25-year-old former New York taxi driver, pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.
It is claimed they had bought the ingredients to make similar explosives as those used in the July 7 2005 bombings which killed 52 people on three tube trains and a bus in London.
In court Ahmedzay said he travelled to Pakistan with two other former school friends from Queen's, New York, Najibullah Zazi and Adis Medunjanin in the summer of 2008.
At the camp in the lawless region of North Waziristan, Ahmedzay said the three men offered to join the Taliban and fight US forces in Afghanistan, but were told they would be "more useful if we returned to New York City... to conduct operations."
Asked by the judge what kind of operations, he said: "Suicide-bombing operations."
The al-Qaeda commanders were identified as Rauf and a man called Saleh al-Somali by the Assistant US Attorney, Jeffrey Knox, as well as an unidentified third man.
Rauf, who is originally from Birmingham, fled Britain after the murder of his uncle in 2002 and has been connected to almost every significant terrorist plot in Britain since, including July 7, the failed attacks of July 21 and the plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic.
He was also behind an alleged plan to attack shopping centres in Manchester last Easter.
Intelligence agencies believe he died in an attack by a Predator unmanned drone in November 2008.
Zazi, an Afghan-born airport shuttlebus driver from Colorado, admitted earlier this year that he tested bomb-making materials at an apartment in a Denver suburb before travelling by car to New York to attack the subway system.
Medunjanin, who is of Bonsian origin, plans to plead not guilty and a fourth man is in custody in Pakistan.