M A I N   N E W S

3 Pakistani aides of NY bomb plotter held
n Evidence links Pak Taliban to failed Times Square attack
n Another suspicious car has New York cops on their toes

New York, May 14
Three Pakistani men, who allegedly supplied funds to Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad, were arrested by the FBI in a slew of raids across Asian-dominated suburbs, US authorities said, amid reports that another person linked to the botched plot had been held in Pakistan.

Also, New York police today vacated a portion of the city's Union Square after a suspicious car was found in the area and rushed a bomb squad to the scene to investigate the vehicle. The car was spotted by a Consolidated Edison employee who claimed seeing two gasoline canisters in the back of the Oldsmobile Cutlass that was parked in front of the utility company's headquarters, the New York Times reported. The police has not released any details of the incident.

Two of the three Pakistanis were arrested in Boston suburbs yesterday while the other one in Maine, nearly two weeks after 30-year-old Pakistani-American Shahzad attempted to blow up a Nissan Pathfinder packed with explosives in the crowded Times Square. Authorities claimed the three arrested men had supplied funds to Shahzad.

US Attorney General Eric Holder later said these arrests were part of an ongoing investigation and not because of any new threat. The arrests here came amid reports that an alleged accomplice of Shahzad had been held in Pakistan and had provided an "independent stream" of evidence linking the Pakistan Taliban to the failed May 1 Times Square attack.

Citing US officials, ‘The Washington Post’ said the man arrested in Pakistan had also admitted to helping Shahzad to travel to Waziristan tribal belt for bomb training. The paper quoted US intelligence officials as saying that the man arrested in Pakistan "is believed to have a connection to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)".

On the arrests made in the US, the FBI said in a statement: "We can confirm that search warrants have been executed in several locations in the Northeast in connection with the investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing." Three men, whose identities were not revealed, were arrested for violation of immigration laws.

A statement from of the office of US Attorney for New York Preet Bharara said: "It was not yet clear whether the men knew how the money was going to be used." ‘The New York Times’ cited law enforcement officials as saying the arrests did not represent a "big break" in the case, but were part of an effort to pursue leads involving the financing of the May 1 attempted bombing.

Shahzad was arrested at the John F Kennedy airport on May 3 while trying to escape to Dubai on an Emirates light. Several suspects have been arrested so far in connection with the same case in Pakistan.

Authorities have been tracing the money trail of Shahzad to find out if he was financed from overseas for planning the Times Square bombing. Sources said the Pakistani men passed money to Shahzad through the informal transfer network known as 'hawala'. Two of the arrested men had over-stayed their visa and the third one was in the process of repatriation.

As part of their investigation, authorities raided a home in Watertown and a gas station and a vehicle in Brookline, a print shop in New Jersey and two homes on Long Island. Shahzad has reportedly been in touch with many of the well-known terrorists, including a mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks, slain TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and firebrand radical Yemeni cleric Anwar Awlaki, who has been in contact with other extremist elements. — PTI




US will burn down: Taliban

Islamabad, May 14
Pakistani Taliban militants have warned America that it will soon "burn" while calling for Pakistan's rulers to be overthrown for following "America's agenda".

The United States is convinced Pakistani Taliban militants allied with al-Qaeda and operating out of northwestern Pakistani border regions were behind an attempted car-bomb attack in New York's Times Square on May 1.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing. If confirmed, it would be the first time their members were involved in an attempted attack in the West. A Pakistani Taliban spokesman, in a video message obtained by Reuters, repeated a claim of responsibility, saying: "The movement proved what America could not have even imagined… All imperialist forces will see that America will burn," said the spokesman, Azim Tariq. — Reuters





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