Pakistani community thrown on the defensive after failed Times Square bomb attempt.
|Shahzad said his Times Square bombing attempt was aimed at avenging ‘US aggression in Muslim countries’ [AFP]|
Faisal Shahzad, the man convicted of attempting a car-bomb attack in New York’s Times Square, has been sentenced to life in prison.
He received several mandatory life sentences in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.
The Pakistan-born US citizen had been convicted on 10 charges including counts of terrorism and attempting to use a “weapon of mass destruction” by parking a car laden with explosives in one of the city’s busiest areas in May.
After his sentencing, Shahzad remained defiant, warning the US that its so-called war with the Muslim world “has just begun”.
Blames ‘US aggression’
Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey, reporting from outside the New York court house, said there were “no surprises” in the sentencing, as Shahzad received “several life sentences”.
“He said if he had 1000 lives he’d give them all to Allah in this way. He said he was doing this because of US occupation and aggression in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” our correspondent said.
The prosecution showed videos of him receiving training from Taliban militants, our correspondent said.
Shahzad “complained that he was not read his rights [by security forces]. He said his wife and children were threatened by government investigators”, our correspondent said.
When convicted in June, Shahzad explained that he packed his vehicle with three separate bomb components, hoping to set off a fertiliser-fuelled bomb packed in a gun cabinet, a set of propane tanks and gas canisters rigged with fireworks to explode into a fireball.
After parking the SUV Shahzad said he lit a fuse and waited for between two and a half to five minutes for the bomb to go off.
“I was waiting to hear a sound but I didn’t hear a sound. … So I walked to Grand Central [station] and went home,” he said.
According to witness reports, the bomb apparently sputtered, emitting smoke that attracted the attention of a nearby street vendor, who notified police, setting in motion a rapid evacuation of the area.
‘It’s a war’
Shahzad was arrested two days after the attempted attack in May at New York’s JFK airport minutes before the plane he had boarded was about to take off for Dubai.
He previously said he conspired with the Pakistan Taliban, which provided more than $15,000 to fund his operation. He also said he was carrying a folding assault rifle for “self-defence”.
“It’s a war,” he said in June. “I am part of the answer to the US terrorising the Muslim nations and the Muslim people.”
“On behalf of that, I’m revenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their people, but they don’t care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.”
In a statement released after his June conviction, Eric Holder, the US attorney general, said Shahzad had “plotted and launched an attack that could have led to serious loss of life, and today the American criminal justice system ensured that he will pay the price for his actions”.