19 May 2010

Times Square bomb accused appears in court

2:31 pm on 19 May 2010

The man accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in New York's Times Square has appeared in court for the first time since his arrest on 3 May.

Appearing in a Manhattan federal court, Pakistani-born US citizen Faisal Shahzad, 30, did not enter a plea on the five charges he faces - which include attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and trying to kill and maim people - and Judge James Francis set a new hearing date of 1 June.

Officials have said that Mr Shahzad, who was was arrested at New York's JFK airport as he tried to leave the US, has provided investigators with valuable intelligence since his arrest.

They say he told investigators that he had received training in bomb making in Waziristan, a tribal region of north-west Pakistan. The US authorities have alleged that the Taliban was behind the attack.

Last week investigators arrested three men after searches in four states, with Attorney-General Eric Holder saying the arrests were linked to Mr Shahzad's alleged bombing attempt.

The men are being held on immigration charges.

On 1 May, police discovered an SUV in Times Square loaded with fertiliser, fireworks, gasoline, propane and alarm clocks.

Investigators traced the vehicle back to Mr Shahzad, officials say, and he was arrested about 53 hours later. He had recently returned from an extended trip to Pakistan.