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NEW YORK (WABC) — One man was arrested in a federal terrorism sting targeting the Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis , 21, was arrested this morning 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 suspect was arraigned in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn and remanded without bail.
Agents set up a sting and he was caught and taken into custody according to officials.
Authorities say the suspect parked a van that he thought was filled with explosives.
He then tried to set them off with a cell phone call made from the Millennium Hotel, across from the World Trade Center, officals said.
But the attempt turned out to be a big sting. The van did not explode, and the suspect was arrested by federal agents.
A joint FBI/NYPD operation flagged the suspect on the internet three months ago.
The defendant faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda.
According to the criminal complaint filed today in the Eastern District of New York, defendant Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, traveled to the United States in January 2012 for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
How and why was he let into the country?
Nafis, who reported having overseas connections to al-Qaeda, allegedly attempted to recruit individuals to form a terrorist cell inside the United States. Nafis also actively sought out al-Qaeda contacts within the United States to assist him in carrying out an attack. Unbeknownst to Nafis, one of the individuals he attempted to recruit was actually a source for the FBI.
“Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure. The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences. It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism,” said FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan.
The complaint alleges that Nafis proposed several targets for his attack, including a highranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange.
Ultimately, Nafis decided to conduct a bombing operation against the New York Federal Reserve Bank. In a written statement intended to claim responsibility for the terrorist bombing of the Federal Reserve Bank on behalf of al- Qaeda, Nafis wrote that he wanted to “destroy America” and that he believed the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was to target America’s economy.
In this statement, Nafis also included quotations from “our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden” to justify the fact that Nafis expected that the attack would involve the killing of women and children.