FBI Arrests Terrorist Would-Be Bomber In Plot To Blow Up New York Fed, 'Destroy America'

View of New York Federal Reserve Bank from Maiden Lane
View of New York Federal Reserve Bank from Maiden Lane Creative Commons

Federal agents arrested a would-be terrorist Wednesday afternoon, after the man attempted to detonate what he believed was a van full of explosives just outside the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

According to an FBI press release, police arrested Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 21-year-old Bangladeshi national who only moved to the United States last January, for plotting to "destroy America" on behalf of foreign enemies.

"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," the Justice Department press release said. "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."

The wannabee bomber was caught as part of an FBI sting operation that started when an agent first befriended the man in an online jihadist message board. Unnamed Sources told NBC the man was provided with a device undercover officers told him was a 1,000-pound bomb. The man then loaded the device into a van, which he parked Wednesday morning on Manhattan's Liberty Street, a few feet from the fortress-like Federal Reserve building.

Following the undercover agent's instructions, the man walked a few blocks to the lobby of the Millennium Hilton hotel, which faces directly into the World Trade Center site, and attempted to detonate the "bomb" using a cellphone. But, the "explosives that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public," according to the U.S. Attorney's statement.

He was arrested on the spot by federal law enforcement.

Nafis was scheduled to appear in Brooklyn federal court later that day for arraignment.

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