Updated 07/07/2010 01:08 PM
Top Al-Qaida Leader Charged In Subway Bomb Plot
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The Justice Department filed charges today against five people, including a top al-Qaida leader, in connection with a plot to blow up the city's subway system.
Prosecutors today unsealed an indictment in Brooklyn Federal Court.
It names Adnan El Shukrijumah, one of the nation's most-wanted terrorists; Queens resident Adis Medunjanin; Tariq Ur Rehman; Abid Naseer; and a fifth defendant known as “Ahmad,” “Sohaib” or “Zahid."
All five defendants were allegedly involved in a plot against the city's subway system lead by Colorado resident Najibullah Zazi. Attorney General Eric Holder called it “one of the most dangerous since September 11th.”
According to the indictment, the men also planned to use Western operatives to attack a target in the United Kingdom.
The indictment states that the Zazi plots were organized by Saleh al-Somali, Rashid Rauf, and El Shukrijumah, who were then-leaders of al-Qaida's "external operations."
Federal prosecutors charge that between September and December 2008, Saleh and Shukrijumah recruited Zazi, Zarein Ahmedzay and Medujanin to conduct suicide bombings in the subway system using improvised explosive devices. The devices would have been made from hydrogen peroxide, acetone, flour and oil.
Zazi and Ahmedzay have pleaded guilty to charges of planning to detonate homemade bombs on the subway.
Medunjanin is awaiting trial on other charges.
Shukrijumah, 34, is the top candidates to be al-Qaida's next head of external operations in charge of planning attacks worldwide. He remains at large with a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.
Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.