Bangladeshi arrested in alleged bomb plot

Oct. 18, 2012 at 12:31 AM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A 21-year-old Bangladeshi man was arrested in New York following a sting operation for allegedly trying to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank, the FBI said.

In a news release, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was arrested Wednesday in downtown Manhattan "after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb at the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street in lower Manhattan's financial district."

The FBI said the accused faced charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida.

"The arrest of Nafis was the culmination of an undercover operation during which he was closely monitored by the FBI New York Field Office's Joint Terrorism Task Force," the release said, adding the bomb he allegedly tried to use had been made inoperable and posed no public threat. Nafis allegedly assembled the device in a warehouse during the sting operation, which included an FBI source posing as an al-Qaida facilitator.

He was arrested as he tried to set off the fake device after parking the van at the bomb site, the FBI said.

A criminal complaint against Nafis said he reportedly had overseas connections to al-Qaida and had traveled to the United States in January of this year "for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil." He is accused of attempting to recruit individuals to form a terrorist cell inside the United States and "actively sought out al-Qaida contacts within the United States to assist him in carrying out an attack."

The FBI said its agents and New York police detectives working with the task force were able to closely monitor Nafis as he attempted to implement his plan.

The complaint said in his written statement designed to claim responsibility for the bombing on behalf of al-Qaida, Nafis wrote he wanted to "destroy America" by targeting its economy.

At the attack site, Nafis reportedly recorded a video statement designed for the American public, saying: "We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom."

CNN quoted prosecutors as saying Nafis had come to the United States on the pretext of attending college in Missouri.

The news network quoted President Barack Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, that the president had been briefed about the threat.

CNN said Nafis made an initial court appearance Wednesday at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, adding his attorney, a public defender, declined to comment.

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