NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A suspect in an alleged al-Qaeda plot against New York City subways also was part of a terror campaign that would have targeted Britain and Norway, U.S. prosecutors said Monday.
Abid Naseer, 26, pleaded not guilty through his attorney at a federal court in Brooklyn. He arrived in New York last week after being extradited from the United Kingdom.
The judge has ordered Naseer held without bail until his next court date, on March 7.
Prosecutors said Naseer was an al-Qaeda operative who collected bomb-making materials and scouted potential targets as part of Najibullah Zazi’s plot to carry out coordinated suicide bombing attacks in busy subway stations in 2009.
Naseer has also been charged with plotting to bomb a busy shopping area in Manchester, England. He was one of 12 people arrested in a counterterrorism operation in April 2009, but all were subsequently released without charges.
They were ordered to leave Britain, but Naseer escaped deportation to Pakistan after a judge ruled it was likely he would be mistreated if he were sent home.
The government alleges Naseer, in early April 2009, used coded language in an e-mail to inform his al-Qaeda handler in Pakistan that he was “…planning a large wedding for numerous guests between April 15 and 20, 2009” and that his al-Qaeda contact “should be ready.”
Prosecutors said he was giving the date for a subway attack in New York, CBS 2’s Don Dahler reported.
The U.S. attorney said intercepted e-mails show flour and oil were some of the ingredients in the explosives Naseer was planning to use. When mixed with ammonium nitrate, a type of fertilizer, they can increase the power and heat of the bomb.
During the raid in England, large amounts of those items were found in the suspect’s home.
Naseer was re-arrested in July 2010 at the request of the prosecutors in Brooklyn, where a federal indictment named him as a co-defendant with Adis Medunjanin.
Prosecutors said Zazi and Medunjanin were friends who met as students at Flushing High School and became more and more
radicalized by listening to lectures 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.
A jury found Medunjanin guilty on all counts for his role in the plot last year.
If convicted in the U.S., Naseer would face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
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