A Canadian fugitive helped get terror training for three New Yorkers accused in a failed al-Qaida sanctioned plot to attack the city's subways, U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday.
An indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn accuses Ferid Imam of supporting Najibullah Zazi, Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin when they traveled to the northern frontier of Pakistan in 2008. The three onetime high school classmates from Queens left the region with orders from al-Qaida to become suicide bombers on American soil.
Imam, 30, was involved in getting the men training "to accomplish that nefarious goal," Janice Fedarcyk, head of the New York FBI office, said in a statement.
The U.S. indictment naming Imam and Medunjanin also alleges they conspired with others to provide material support and resources to al-Qaeda, "including currency, lodging, training, safehouses, communications equipment, personnel and transportation."
Canadian authorities announced their own charges against Imam, alleging he went to Pakistan in 2007 for terrorist training in firearms, scouting, guerrilla warfare and explosives with plans to later join insurgents in Afghanistan.
Ahmedzay _ who has pleaded guilty to terror charges in the subway plot and is cooperating in an ongoing investigation _ identified Imam as one of his trainers, Assistant Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bill Robinson said Tuesday.
Imam and another Canadian man, Maiwand Yar, 27, also face charges of conspiracy to participate in terrorism and participation in terrorism. Police say Imam and Yar never returned to Canada following their entry into Pakistan in 2007 and their whereabouts are unknown.
After receiving al-Qaida training, Zazi, a former Denver airport shuttle driver, cooked up explosives and set out for New York City in 2009 around the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was arrested after abandoning the suicide-bomb plan and fleeing back to Colorado.
Zazi and Ahmedzay have since admitted in guilty pleas that they wanted to avenge U.S. aggression in the Arab world by becoming martyrs.
Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty. If his case reaches trial, Zazi and Ahmedzay would likely testify against him.