Bangladeshi arrested for plot to bomb Reserve Bank
NEW YORKThe FBI on Oct. 17 arrested a Bangladeshi man in a sting operation on charges he attempted to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank with what he believed was a 450-kg bomb, federal authorities said.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. If convicted, he faces life in prison, according to Reuters.
The FBI said the public was not in danger because the explosives provided to Nafis were never in working condition and the suspect was closely monitored by the undercover agent, highlighting a script law enforcement has employed several times this year in similar cases, including one in Washington and another in Ohio.
“Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure,” said Mary Galligan, acting head of the FBI’s New York office. “The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences.”
Nafis appeared in federal court in Brooklyn to face charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida, the Associated Press reported.
The defendant had sought assurances from an undercover agent posing as an al-Qaida contact that the terrorist group would support the operation.
“The thing that I want to do, ask you about, is that, the thing I’m doing, it’s under al-Qaida?” he was recorded saying during a meeting in a bugged hotel room in Queens, according to the complaint.
In a September meeting in the same hotel room, Nafis “confirmed he was ready to kill himself during the course of the attack, but indicated he wanted to return to Bangladesh to see his family one last time to set his affairs in order,” the complaint said.
But there was no allegation that Nafis actually received training or direction from the terrorist group.
Prosecutors say Nafis traveled to the U.S. on a student visa in January to carry out an attack. In July, he contacted a confidential informant, telling him he wanted to form a terror cell, the criminal complaint said.