Man arrested in New York after plotting Federal Reserve bomb
New York, NY, United States (4E) – A 21-year-old Bangladeshi man, who came in the US on a student visa, was arrested Wednesday on a sting operation by federal officials after he allegedly planned to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb inside his parked van.
Federal agents and New York Police Department detectives said that Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis tried to detonate the device, which was inert.
According to prosecutors, Nafis was inspired by al Qaeda.
He entered the United States in January disguised as a student to carry out “a terrorist attack on U.S. soil” and to find followers to form a terrorist cell.
Authorities claimed that Nafis acted on the plot alone and that it was his only motivation for the U.S. trip.
He allegedly sought out al-Qaida contacts to help him and ended up conspiring with an undercover source from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to whom he suggested a list of multiple targets, including a high-ranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange. He also considered President Barack Obama as a target but the plan never pushed through.
Prosecutors added that the suspected terrorist is focused on destroying America by going after its financial institutions before he finally chose the bank in New York.
The undercover agent gave Nafis 20 bags of 50 pounds each of purported explosives which he placed in a warehouse.
Nafis “Plan B” involves carrying out a suicide attack.
After packing his van with the supposedly explosives, Nafis drove off with the undercover agent to Manhattan’s financial district, where he attached a detonator to the material after recording a video statement in a nearby hotel stating “we will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”
Nafis parked his van near the Federal Reserve and tried unsuccessfully to detonate the device by using his cell phone.
Authorities arrested him soon after that.
Nafis is facing charges of “attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda.”
His attorney, a public defender, declined to comment.
Nafis, who lives in Jamaica, Queens, attended Southeast Missouri State University for a semester as a sophomore, studying cybersecurity from January through May 2012. He transferred to a New York City ESL program and left Missouri after spring.