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U.S. Says Man In Custody In New York Car-Bomb Attempt Tried To Flee


A surveillance photo shows a Nissan sports-utility vehicle (right) containing a bomb on Times Square in New York.

A surveillance photo shows a Nissan sports-utility vehicle (right) containing a bomb on Times Square in New York.

A man suspected of attempting to detonate a car bomb in New York City over the weekend is to appear in Manhattan federal court later today.

The Department of Justice did not specify the charges. But it said the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen who it said was born in Pakistan, was arrested late on May 3 for "allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square."

Attorney General Eric Holder earlier today told a news conference that Shahzad was arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy international airport as he was trying to board a flight to Dubai.

Holder said it "would have been a deadly attack had it been successful."

"This investigation is ongoing, as are our attempts to gather useful intelligence, and we continue to pursue a number of leads," Holder added. "But it's clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans."

News reports described the suspect as a 30-year-old Pakistani-American living in the state of Connecticut, who had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan.

He is believed to have recently bought the vehicle that was found in Times Square late on May 1, loaded with gasoline, propane, fireworks and fertilizer. The bomb was discovered and dismantled before it could explode.

Times Square was packed with tourists and theater-goers when a street vendor raised the alarm.

FBI agent Kimberly Mertz told reporters that a home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was searched in the early morning hours today as part of the probe. She did not give any further details about the operation.

Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines said that "three passengers were removed" from the New York-Dubai flight. It said the flight "was called back by the local authorities prior to departure."

Americans Urged To Remain 'Vigilant'

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said more than one person may have been involved, but could offer no specifics.

Holder also suggested authorities may be searching for more suspects, saying, "We will not rest until we have brought everyone responsible to justice."

"This investigation is ongoing. It is multifaceted and it is aggressive," Holder said. "As we move forward, we will focus on not just holding those responsible for it accountable but also on obtaining any intelligence about terrorist organizations overseas."

He also urged the American people to "remain vigilant."

"The vehicle in Times Square was first noticed on Saturday by a citizen who reported it to authorities," Holder said. "And, as always, any American who notices suspicious activity should report it to the appropriate law-enforcement agencies."

Who's Behind It?

On May 2, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an extremist network that has claimed credit for many bloody attacks across Pakistan in recent years, said it had planted the bomb to avenge the killing in April of Al-Qaeda's two top leaders in Iraq.

U.S. officials said on May 3 that there was "no evidence" to support that claim.

Representative Peter King (Republican, New York), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said today the investigation "is taking a definite turn toward international terrorism."

Pakistan has pledged to help the United States in the case.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters Islamabad would "cooperate with the United States" in bringing those responsible "to justice."

with agency reports
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