A New York Police Department officer stands in front of a news ticker mentioning the arrest of a Bangladeshi man during a sting operation in New York October 17, 2012. The FBI on Wednesday arrested Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, on charges he attempted to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank with what he believed was a 1,000-pound (450-kg) bomb, federal authorities said. (Photo : Reuters)
FBI arrested a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man on Wednesday after he attempted to detonate a fake 1,000-pound car bomb at the Federal Reserve in NYC, a criminal complaint stated.
The man, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, had originally considered targeting President Barack Obama before choosing the Federal Reserve building, CBS News reported. According to the criminal complaint, which was filed on Thursday in Brooklyn, Nafis came to the U.S. on a student visa with the hope of carrying out a terrorist attack.
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Nafis allegedly admired U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and actively attempted to set up an al Qaeda cell in the U.S., ABC News reported. According to Salon, he began to form his terrorist plot after making contact with an FBI agent posing as an al Qaeda operative in July.
The two then elaborated a plan the fake bomb attack, which included FBI-provided materials for the 1,000-pound bomb. Salon reported that Nafis claimed to be willing to kill himself in the attack in recorded meetings with the FBI agent.
The FBI agent supplied Nafis with 20 50-pound bags supposedly filled with explosives known as ANFO, while Nafis purchased the materials for the fake bomb's detonator, ABC News reported.
According to ABC, Nafis and the FBI agent met on Wednesday and traveled to a warehouse where the wannabe terrorist allegedly admitted to having a "Plan B," which consisted of a suicide attack. He then proceeded to assemble the "bomb" and park a van filled with fake explosives on Liberty Street by the Federal Reserve.
Nafis allegedly proceeded to go to a nearby hotel, record a video statement and attempt to detonate the bomb with his cell phone. He was then arrested by federal agents after countless failed attempts to set off the fake bomb, ABC reported.
Meanwhile, back in Bangladesh, Nafis' family members told reporters that he was incapable of committing a terrorist attack. NBC News reported that his father, Quazi Ahsanullah, told reporters, "My son couldn't have done it."
Nafis was previously enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University to pursue a degree in cyber security, but had recently told his family that he was transferring to a school in New York, CBS News reported. ABC News reported that he is facing charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda. It is unknown if Nafis was ever able to communicate with actual al Qaeda operatives.