BULLETIN: Suspect Whose Aim Was To Carry Out Suicide Bombing At U.S. Capitol Building In Washington Arrested; Man Also Proposed Attacks On U.S. Military Offices, Army Generals, Restaurant And Synagogue, FBI Says

BULLETIN: The FBI and federal prosecutors in Virginia have confirmed the arrest of Amine El Khalifi, describing him as a Moroccan national living in the United States illegally and saying he planned a suicide bombing with a vest strapped to his body today at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington.

El Khalifi, 29, resided in Alexandria, Va., and represents “the continuing threat we face from homegrown violent extremists,” said Lisa Monaco, assistant attorney general for national security.

“[He] allegedly believed he was working with al Qaeda and devised the plot, the targets, and the methods on his own,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia.

A “confidential human source” told the FBI more than  a year ago — in January 2011 — that  El Khalifi had met with other individuals at a residence in Arlington.

During the meeting, U.S. officials said, “one individual produced what appeared to be an AK-47, two revolvers and ammunition. El Khalifi allegedly expressed agreement with a statement by this individual that the ‘war on terrorism’ was a ‘war on Muslims’ and said that the group needed to be ready for war.”

By Dec. 1, 2011 — with El Khalifi under surveillance — “he was introduced by a man he knew as ‘Hussien’ to an individual named ‘Yusuf,’ who was, in reality, an undercover law enforcement officer,” prosecutors said.  “Throughout December 2011 and January 2012, El Khalifi allegedly proposed to carry out a bombing attack. His proposed targets included a building that contained U.S. military offices, as well as a synagogue, U.S. Army generals and a restaurant frequented by military officials.”

After witnessing a staged explosion purportedly triggered through a cell phone at a West Virgina quarry last month, “El Khalifi expressed a desire for a larger explosion in his attack. He also selected Feb. 17, 2012, as the day of the operation,” prosecutors said.

“El Khalifi dialed a cell phone number that he believed would detonate a bomb placed in the quarry,” prosecutors said.

Over the next month, El Khalifi repeatedly traveled to the Capitol building to conduct surveillance, prosecutors said.

He also asked for a gun that “he could use during the attack to shoot any officers who might attempt to stop him,” prosecutors said.

El Khalifi was arrested today a short distance from the Capitol after traveling there to conduct the suicide bombing. But it was a sting in which equipment given to him had been rendered inert, prosecutors said.

“This individual allegedly followed a twisted, radical ideology that is not representative of the Muslim community in the United States,” said James W. McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office.

 

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