New York: A Pakistani-born US citizen who tried to set off a car bomb in New York’s busy Times Square was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison.
Faisal Shahzad, 31, pleaded guilty in June to a failed on May 1 bombing in Midtown Manhattan. He admitted to investigators he received bomb-making training from the Pakistani Taliban — called Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan — and that the group had funded the bomb plot.
He was sentenced on Tuesday morning in Manhattan federal court by US District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum to life with no chance for parole.
Shahzad, who lived in the neighboring state of Connecticut and became a US citizen in 2009, parked a smoking sports utility vehicle in Times Square with its engine running and hazard lights flashing on a balmy springtime on Saturday evening.
But street vendors alerted police to the vehicle within minutes and thousands of people were evacuated from the popular theater district. A bomb squad diffused the crude device, which included firecrackers and propane gas tanks.
Shahzad, who has a wife and two children living in Pakistan, told investigators he thought his bomb would kill at least 40 people, and that he had planned a second bombing attack two weeks later. A second target was not identified.
The son of a retired Pakistani vice air marshal, Shahzad was arrested aboard a Dubai-bound jetliner at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport two days after the attempted attack. He had been on his way back to Pakistan.
Shahzad pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted terrorism transcending national borders.
Prosecutors had asked for a life term for Shahzad to deter potential future radicalization of US citizens.
Shahzad, a former budget analyst who worked for a marketing firm in Connecticut, used the Internet to study Times Square in a bid to maximize damages, and prosecutors said he consulted with militants in Pakistan throughout the bomb-making process.
As he assembled the bomb at his Connecticut home, prosecutors said, he used specific programs on his computer to communicate with Tehrik-e-Taliban militants.