A 26-year-old Pakistani al-Qaeda operative has been extradited from the UK to face charges for his role in an international terrorism plot masterminded by the group's leaders in Pakistan to attack targets in New York and Europe.
Abid Naseer, a Manchester resident, was extradited to Brooklyn yesterday and would make his initial court appearance on January 7 before Judge Raymond Dearie of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Arrested in the UK in 2009, Naseer is charged with providing and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device in relation to the UK branch of the plot.
He has been fighting extradition since his arrest and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted. Naseer is the eighth defendant to face charges in Brooklyn federal court related to the al-Qaeda terror plot involving other men from Queens Adis Medunjanin, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay.
They were convicted of conspiring with al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan in September 2008 and plotting to bomb the city subways.On the radar of the men were targets in Scandinavia and UK.Naseer is "one of a long line of terrorist suspects extradited to these shores and this courthouse to face justice for their efforts to wreak havoc here and overseas. As alleged, this defendant was instrumental in one tentacle of an international plot that reached to New York, Norway, and the United Kingdom," US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
According to the indictment and evidence presented to the court in support of Naseer?s extradition, Al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan recruited Medunjanin, Zazi and Ahmedzay to conduct a suicide bombing attack in New York city.
The al Qaeda leaders, including Adnan El-Shukrijumah and Saleh al-Somali, communicated with Zazi about the plot through a Qaeda facilitator named 'Ahmad' in Peshawar,Pakistan.
In early September 2009, after Medunjanin, Zazi and Ahmedzay had selected the city's subway system as their target, Zazi exchanged e-mails with Ahmad in Pakistan about materials required for the explosives.
The investigation by authorities in the US and UK revealed that Ahmad was also communicating with Naseer, who was in Pakistan in November 2008. After returning to Britain, Naseer sent messages to Ahmad's e-mail to communicate with the American-based al Qaeda cell on behalf of al-Somali.
Naseer used coded language to refer to different types of explosives. In one such communication, Naseer told Ahmad that he
was planning a large "wedding" for numerous guests in April 2009.