NEW YORK — Terrorism suspect Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, telling a federal judge that he planned to commit “martyrdom operations” and subways were among the targets.

The 25-year-old former Denver airport shuttle driver also pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization, which he said was al-Qaida.

He faces a life prison sentence without parole in the plea deal.

When Judge Raymond Dearie asked him to define what he meant by “martyrdom operations,” Zazi said:

“To me it meant I would sacrifice myself to bring attention to what the U.S. military was doing to civilians in Afghanistan.”

Zazi was arrested last September after driving cross-country from Denver to New York in what authorities believed was the first al-Qaida-linked terrorist operation on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Authorities say he received al-Qaida training in Pakistan and went on a buying spree of bomb-making chemicals in preparation for launching an attack in New York.

Zazi, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25.