URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: Would-Be Bomber With Claimed al Qaeda Ties Arrested In Plot To Blow Up New York Federal Reserve Bank, FBI Says

“As alleged in the complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan. The defendant thought he was striking a blow to the American economy. He thought he was directing confederates and fellow believers.”U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch, Eastern District of New York, Oct. 17, 2012

URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: A Bangladeshi national who claimed al Qaeda ties has been arrested on charges he intended to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank to “destroy America,” the FBI said.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested near the bank this morning after an FBI sting, the agency said.

The public was not in danger because the “explosives that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement,” the FBI said.

CBS News is reporting that Nafis was arrested “with his finger on the fake detonator.”

“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 E. Galligan, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office.

Before settling on the bank as a target, Nafis contemplated attacks on “a high-ranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange,” the FBI said. The agency did not name the official.

Nafis had been in the United States since January, the FBI said.

While in the United States, Nafis “attempted to recruit individuals to form a terrorist cell,” the FBI said.

And Nafis spoke about “our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden” to “justify the fact that Nafis expected that the [Federal Reserve Bank] attack would involve the killing of women and children,” the FBI said.

New York was the site of one phase of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

One of the people Nafis sought to recruit “was actually a source for the FBI,” the agency said. “Through the investigation, FBI agents and NYPD detectives working with the [New York Joint Terrorism Task Force] were able to closely monitor Nafis as he attempted to implement his plan.”

From an FBI statement (italics added):

During the investigation, Nafis came into contact with an FBI undercover agent who posed as an al Qaeda facilitator. At Nafis’ request, the undercover agent supplied Nafis with 20 50-pound bags of purported explosives. Nafis then allegedly worked to store the material and assemble the explosive device for his attack. Nafis purchased components for the bomb’s detonator and conducted surveillance for his attack on multiple occasions in New York City’s financial district in lower Manhattan. Throughout his interactions with the undercover agent, Nafis repeatedly asserted that the plan was his own and was the reason he had come to the United States.

Earlier this morning, Nafis met the undercover agent and traveled in a van to a warehouse located in the Eastern District of New York. While en route, Nafis explained to the undercover agent that he had a “Plan B” that involved conducting a suicide bombing operation in the event that the attack was about to be thwarted by the police.

Upon arriving at the warehouse, Nafis assembled what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb inside the van. Nafis and the undercover agent then drove to the New York Federal Reserve Bank. During this drive, Nafis armed the purported bomb by assembling the detonator and attaching it to the explosives.

Nafis and the undercover agent parked the van next to the New York Federal Reserve Bank, exited the van, and walked to a nearby hotel. There, Nafis recorded a video statement to the American public that he intended to release in connection with the attack. During this video statement, Nafis stated, “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.” Nafis then repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, attempted to detonate the bomb . . .

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