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New York bomb suspect pleads guilty

Calling himself a "Muslim soldier", a Pakistan-born US citizen has pleaded guilty to carrying out the failed Times Square car bombing.

Faisal Shahzad entered the plea at the US District Court in Manhattan just days after a federal grand jury indicted him on 10 terrorism and weapons counts, some of which carry mandatory life prison sentences. He pleaded guilty to them all.

"One has to understand where I'm coming from," Shahzad told judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, who challenged him repeatedly with questions such as whether he worried about killing children in Times Square. "I consider myself...a Muslim soldier," he said.

The 30-year-old described his effort to set off a bomb in a vehicle he parked in Times Square on May 1, saying he chose the warm Saturday night because it would be crowded with people who he could injure or kill.

He revealed that he actually packed his vehicle with three separate bombs, hoping to set off a fertiliser-fuelled bomb packed in a gun cabinet, a set of propane tanks and gas canisters rigged with fireworks to explode into a fireball.

Shahzad said he expected the bombs to begin going off after he lighted a fuse and waited between up to five minutes for them to erupt.

"I was waiting to hear a sound but I didn't hear a sound. So I walked to Grand Central and went home," he said.

Shahzad dismissed the judge's question about the children by saying the US did not care when children were killed in Muslim countries. "It's a war. I am part of the answer to the US terrorising the Muslim nations and the Muslim people," he said. "On behalf of that, I'm revenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their people but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die."

The judge asked Shahzad if he understood some charges carried mandatory life sentences and that he might spend the rest of his life in prison. He said he did.

At one point, she asked him if he was sure he wanted to plead guilty. He said he wanted "to plead guilty and 100 times more" to let the US know that if it did not get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, halt drone attacks and stop meddling in Muslim lands, "we will be attacking US". Sentencing of the Connecticut resident was scheduled for October 5.

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