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Najibullah Zazi, Confessed Ring-Leader In NYC Subway Terror Plot, Testifies

Fingers Adis Medunjanin As 1 Of 2 Men Committed To Killing New Yorkers
An artist's rendering of Adis Medunjanin in court. (credit: CBS 2)

An artist’s rendering of Adis Medunjanin in court. (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s being called the most significant terror plot on United States soil since 9/11.

On Tuesday, the mastermind behind a plot to blow up New York City subways testified against one of his former high school classmates, a man now on trial in Brooklyn.

They were friends who met as students in Flushing High School. They became more and more radicalized by listening to lectures on their iPods by radical Islamists. They eventually plotted to kill as many New Yorkers as possible by setting off bomb vests inside subways during rush hour, prosecutors said. Two of those men took the stand against the third Tuesday, saying he was as much a part of the plan as they were.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

On trial is Adis Medunjanin, the former security guard whom prosecutors said agreed to become a suicide bomber.

Testifying against him was Najibullah Zazi, the confessed ring leader and bomb maker, and Zarein Ahmedzay, the New York cabbie whose job was to pick out their terror targets.

CBS News’ John Miller was with the FBI at the time of the plot and said the terror trio originally had ambitious targets.

“Targets they looked at, the Stock Exchange, Grand Central, landmarks, but they settled on the New York subway system around the 9/11 anniversary in January of 2009,” Miller said.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell On The Case

In court Tuesday, Zazi, with short hair and a beard, was asked if he could identify one of the two men who were committed to killing New Yorkers. He pointed to the defendant and said in a clear voice, “I see Medunjanin.”

He said the defendant shared his views back then that “America is oppressing Muslims in Afghanistan” and that it was their duty to join the jihad and kill Americans.

However, defense attorneys said their client never intended to kill anyone on American soil.

Prosecutors called half a dozen members of the NYPD’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to testify about the intense surveillance of the three men. Ironically, it was when Zazi, the ring leader, realized they were being followed and watched, that he abandoned the plot and fled back to Denver.

The taxi driver, Ahmedzay, testified that even though the defendant was eventually kept out of the planning and preparation for the terror attacks, he always planned to participate.

“So you both agreed that Medunjanin would just be a bomb,” the lawyer asked. “Correct,” was the response.

The former taxi driver-turned-terrorist-turned-government witness also said at one point his wife threatened to kill herself and their baby if he went through with the attacks, so he decided to back out. However, after reading the Quran, he said he decided to go against her wishes and carry out their plans.

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