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Faisal Shahzad Gets Life in Prison for Failed Times Square Car Bombing

By DNAinfo Staff on October 5, 2010 10:55am  | Updated on October 5, 2010 11:20am

By Olivia Scheck

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Faisal Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to setting a car bomb in Times Square last spring, the U.S. District Attorney's Office said.

"Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun," a smirking Shahzad told the court during the sentencing, according to the New York Times. "The defeat of the U.S. is imminent and will happen in the near future."

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara recommended that Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum impose the mandatory life term in a sentencing memo filed last month. Cedarbaum sentenced the attempted bomber to life in prison Tuesday morning.

"It's only right that Faisal Shahzad forfeit his freedom for life after trying to forfeit the lives of innocent New Yorkers forever," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement following the sentencing.

Mug shot of Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad.
Mug shot of Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad.
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U.S. Marshals Service

Shahzad, 31, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, parked an SUV filled with explosives at Broadway and 46th Street on May 1, 2010, activated the bomb and fled the scene. The device did not detonate as planned and Shahzad was arrested at JFK two days later, while trying to board a flight to Dubai.

Shahzad claimed credit for the potentially deadly plot in Manhattan court last June, pleading guilty to all 10 charges.

"I want to plead guilty 100 times because unless the United States pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq, until they stop drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen and stop attacking Muslim lands, we will attack the United States and be out to get them," an unremorseful Shahzad told the court.

Shahzad told police he would have planted a second bomb in New York two weeks after his failed attack had he not been caught, according to court papers. He also admitted to surveying Times Square via internet webcams, so he could determine the deadliest time to strike, the document said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg would not comment on the judge's sentence, but said there is no doubt that Shahzad was bent on destruction.

 "This is a bad guy. He wanted to kill an awful lot of people," he told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. "There's no question what this guy was trying to do. He was trying to kill as many innocent human beings and destroy our society."

During the Tuesday sentencing, Cederbaum asked Shahzad whether he had sworn allegiance to the U.S. when he became a citizen last year.

"I did swear, but I did not mean it," the terrorist replied.