Wednesday, September 22, 2010

UK Guardian-Faisal Shahzad; Anatomy of a Would-Be Suicide Bomber

Faisal Shahzad, arrested for the attempted bombing of NY's Times Square: Mark St. George/Rex Features
(Story reported by Lorraine Adams and Ayesha Nasir for The Observer/UK Guardian)

On 1 May 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born naturalised American citizen residing in Bridgeport, Connecticut, drove an SUV loaded with explosive devices to the corner of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square, New York. He began the detonation process, walked away, and took a train back to his apartment. The bomb failed to ignite. Police found him easily through the car's serial number. He was arrested on 3 May on board an Emirates flight to Dubai that had pulled away from the gate but had not yet been cleared for take-off.

Bridgeport is a beat-down city of 140,000, only half and hour away from yacht-friendly Westport on the Manhattan-bound commuting coastline. An abandoned port hobbled by lower-than-average incomes and education, it seems an unlikely place to call home for Faisal Shahzad, the 31-year-old, MBA-graduate son of an eminent Pakistani father. Shahzad rented a second-floor apartment (for $1,150 a month) in a three-storey tenement similar to others on the block. Recently renovated, his was the cleanest. Even so, its pale-biscuit siding was gimcrack vinyl, its chalk-white trim a flimsy metal. The garage in the back, where he assembled the bomb inside his Nissan Pathfinder, was missing its door and guarded by a barking dog on a heavy chain.

(Click here to read the full story on the Observer/UK Guardian website.)

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