NEW YORK (AP) | A failed plot to set off bombs in the New York City subway system last year was part of a larger al Qaeda terrorist conspiracy that included a similar attack planned in England, U.S. prosecutors said Wednesday.
In an indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, prosecutors added several al Qaeda figures to the case, including Adnan Shukrijumah, an FBI most-wanted terrorist. Also Wednesday in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi, who was accused of acting as accountant, paymaster, supply chief and cook for al Qaeda during the 1990s, pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy at a hearing. Al-Qosi, 50, was accused of being a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden.
Shukrijumah, one of the al Qaeda leaders in charge of plotting attacks worldwide, was directly involved in recruiting and plotting the New York attack, prosecutors said. U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has called that plot one of the most dangerous since Sept. 11, 2001.
Three of the men indicted Wednesday - Abid Naseer, Tariq Ur Rehman and an alleged al Qaeda operative known as "Ahmad" - were linked to a previously undisclosed companion plot in England.
"These charges underscore the global nature of the terrorist threat we face," said David Kris, the Justice Department's top national security prosecutor.
The Associated Press first reported last week that U.S. authorities think Shukrijumah was involved in the subway plot, and that Ahmad is in Pakistani custody.
Three U.S. citizens were arrested in September 2009 before, prosecutors said, they could carry out three suicide bombings in Manhattan. Najibullah Zazi, a former Denver airport shuttle driver, and Zarein Ahmedzay have pleaded guilty and admitted plotting to detonate homemade bombs on the subway during rush hour.
A third man, Adis Medunjanin, awaits trial. Prosecutors added new terrorism charges against him Wednesday. There was no response to a phone message left with his attorney.
After 9/11, Shukrijumah, 34, was seen as one of al Qaeda's best chances to attack inside the U.S. or Europe, captured terrorist Abu Zubaydah told U.S. authorities. Shukrijumah studied at a community college in Florida but when the FBI showed up to arrest him as a material witness to a terrorism case in 2003, he already had left the country.
In 2004, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft called Shukrijumah a "clear and present danger" to the United States. The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
The new indictment charging a conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction alleges that Shukrijumah and Ahmad recruited Zazi, Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin in 2008 to receive training from al Qaeda in the Waziristan region of Pakistan.
As for al-Qosi, a panel of military officers will determine his sentence at a hearing scheduled for August. He faces up to life in prison but could also be sentenced to time served.