UPDATE 8-New York bomb plot suspect says acted alone-source

* Man arrested at New York airport trying to fly to Dubai

* Suspect Faisal Shahzad, 30, due in court on Tuesday

* Obama says probe will look for possible foreign ties

* Tells investigators he acted alone – source
(Adds comments by Obama, New York mayor)

By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK, May 4 (BestGrowthStock) – The Pakistani-American arrested
on suspicion of driving a bomb-laden car into New York’s Times
Square told U.S. authorities he acted alone but skeptical
investigators are looking into his recent trip to Pakistan, a
law enforcement source said on Tuesday.

Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in
Pakistan, was arrested late on Monday at John F. Kennedy
International Airport in New York after being removed from a
plane as it was about to take off for Dubai, officials said.

Shahzad, 30, was due to appear in federal court later on
Tuesday to face charges of “driving a car bomb into Times
Square on the evening of May 1,” officials said. Had the bomb
detonated, many people could have died, experts said.

“He’s admitted to buying the truck, putting the devices
together, putting them in the truck, leaving the truck there
and leaving the scene,” the law enforcement source told
Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He’s claimed to have acted alone. He did admit to all the
charges, so to speak,” the source said, adding that
investigators were still looking into his activities during a
recent trip to Pakistan.

President Barack Obama said the investigation would seek to
determine if the suspect in custody had any connection with
foreign extremist groups.[ID:nN0496132]

If links were found between the failed bombing and
Pakistan’s Taliban, which claimed responsibility for it,
Pakistan could come under renewed U.S. pressure to open risky
new fronts against Islamic militants. [ID:nSGE6430F9]

Pakistan vowed to help the U.S. investigation.

Shahzad, who became a U.S. citizen last year, recently
visited Pakistan for about five months, returning to the United
States in February, the source said.

“Based on our collective experience it’s hard to really
believe that this is something someone would do on their own.
It seems hard to pull off alone. There’s a lot we don’t know
yet,” the source said.

Shahzad had boarded the Emirates airline flight for Dubai
before being detained, the airline said. ABC News, citing
unidentified federal officials, said the plane had begun to
taxi for take-off when FBI agents ordered it to return to the

“Clearly the guy was on the plane and shouldn’t have been
and we got very lucky,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a
news conference.


Shahzad is suspected of buying a 1993 Nissan sport utility
vehicle used to carry the crude bomb, made of fuel and
fireworks, into Times Square as the theater and shopping area
was packed with people on a warm Saturday evening.

New Yorkers bore the brunt of the Sept. 11 attacks by al
Qaeda militants in 2001, and Saturday’s scare was a reminder
that the city of 8 million people is always under threat.

Obama, who was notified of Shahzad’s arrest just after
midnight, said the incident was a “sobering reminder” of the
times, but vowed that the United States would not be

Authorities searched Shahzad’s home in Bridgeport,
Connecticut, the FBI said on Tuesday. An FBI spokeswoman did
not say what authorities had found.

The Taliban in Pakistan said on Sunday it planted the bomb
to avenge the killing in April of al Qaeda’s two top leaders in
Iraq as well as U.S. interference in Muslim countries.

Some officials voiced skepticism about the claim. But
former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel, who last year oversaw an Obama
administration strategy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan,
cautioned against dismissing a Taliban role.

“They have said they want to attack inside the United
States,” he said before the arrest was announced, adding it was
possible the incident involved “some Pakistani-American who has
never built a car bomb before in his life but who is being
coached either by phone or Internet.”

Pakistan is an ally to the United States and other NATO
countries fighting the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan but
is also seen as a training ground for Islamist militants.

Saturday’s failed bombing was the second significant plot
in nine months targeting New York City. An Afghan immigrant,
Najibullah Zazi, has pleaded guilty to plotting a suicide
bombing campaign on Manhattan’s subway system last September.

U.S. authorities disrupted that plot before Zazi and his
accused accomplices were able to carry it out. Another
Afghan-born man has pleaded guilty for his role in the plot.

Zazi admitted to receiving al Qaeda training in Pakistan.

Garry Hindle, head of security and counterterrorism at
Britain’s Royal United Services Institute think tank, said:
“We’ve been saying for a long time that this type of
incompetent attack is the trend. If it follows the pattern of
previous incidents, we can expect to uncover an amount of prior
overseas travel, instruction from trainers and a search for
inspiration from radicalizers abroad.”

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Jeremy
Pelofsky, Jeff Mason, JoAnne Allen and Will Dunham in
Washington; and William Maclean in London; Editing by Frances

UPDATE 8-New York bomb plot suspect says acted alone-source