NEW YORK (AFP) – A Bangladeshi man with alleged al-Qaeda links was arrested Wednesday in New York on charges of plotting to destroy the city’s Federal Reserve building with a 1,000 pound bomb.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested in Manhattan after he tried to detonate what he thought was a live bomb, but was actually a dummy provided as part of a sting operation, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said.
The attempt to “destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure,” FBI acting assistant director Mary Galligan said in a statement.
However, the suspect never posed a real risk because the two people he thought were his accomplices “were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent.”
Nafis traveled to the United States in January 2012 “for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack on US soil,” the federal prosecutor’s office in Brooklyn said in a statement.
“Nafis, who reported having overseas connections to al-Qaeda, 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,” the prosecutor’s office said.
“Unbeknownst to Nafis, one of the individuals he attempted to recruit was actually a source for the FBI.”
Nafis allegedly wrote a statement claiming responsibility for his planned attack in which he said he wanted to “destroy America” and refered to slain al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden as “beloved.”
He has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to support al-Qaeda.