Three Pakistanis were arrested on Thursday in the US after authorities conducted raids on new locations in the Northeast in connection with the failed Times Square car bombing, federal investigators have said. The searches were carried out in Long Island, the Boston suburbs and New Jersey.
US Attorney General Eric Holder has noted that these arrests are part of an ongoing investigation and not because any immediate threat. "We can confirm that search warrants have been executed in several locations in the Northeast in connection with the investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing," the FBI, said in a statement, early in the day. A statement from of the office of the US Attorney for New York, Preet Bharara, said that the three men had been arrested for immigration violations. All the three people are from Pakistan, authorities said. The New York Times cited law enforcement official as saying the arrests did not represent a "big break" in the case, but were part of an effort to pursue leads involving the financing of the May 1 attempted bombing.
Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, 30, attempted to blow up a Nissan Pathfinder packed with explosives in the crowded site of the tourist area. Shahzad, was arrested two days later while trying to escape to Dubai on an Emirates flight. He was apprehended at the John F Kennedy airport and has been charged. Several suspects have been arrested in connection with the same case in Pakistan. The NYT said that the authorities did not expect to charge anyone else with terrorism. "We're gathering information and following leads in terms of people who may have provided money to Shahzad, or knowingly or unknowingly helped him," an official said, "These searches are the product of evidence that has been gathered in the investigation subsequent to the attempted Times Square bombing and do not relate to any known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States," the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, said in a statement.
Shazad has reportedly been in touch with many of the well-known terrorists including a mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks, former Pakistani Taliban chief Beitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a drone missile strike in 2009, and firebrand radical Yemeni cleric Anwar Awlaki who has been in contact with other extremist actors such as army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan who shot American soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas in November.