x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

FBI charge three over bomb plot

The FBI has charged three men over false statements in an investigation into an alleged plot to attack a New York transport hub.

Three men of Afghan origin have been arrested for making false statements to FBI agents investigating an alleged plot to launch an attack on New York, US officials said today. The US Justice Department said the FBI is also investigating other individuals "in the United States, Pakistan and elsewhere, relating to a plot to detonate improvised explosive devices in the United States," according to affidavits filed to support the arrests. A bus driver, Najibullah Zazi, 24, and his 53-year-old father Mohammed - both Afghan natives - were arrested in the western US state of Colorado late yesterday, the department said in a statement. Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, also from Afghanistan, was later arrested in New York. "Each of the defendants has been charged by criminal complaint with knowingly and willfully making false statements to the FBI in a matter involving international and domestic terrorism," the statement said. The arrests come after raids this week in New York and Colorado and three days of voluntary questioning of Najibullah Zazi in Denver, Colorado. Investigators focused in the questioning on an alleged plot targeting a major New York transportation hub, such as a subway station, the CNN news network reported on Thursday, citing sources close to investigation. According to US media reports this week, authorities found 14 new black backpacks in the New York raids that fuelled concern the men may have been planning to use the backpacks to carry suicide bombs. An ABC News report cited unnamed authorities as saying "Zazi brought with him instructions on how to build a bomb using household chemicals." In a telephone interview with Najibullah Zazi reported in the Denver Post newspaper on Saturday, he denied admitting to any link to al Qa'eda or involvement in an attack plot. * AFP