FBI arrests man in New York Federal Reserve bomb plot

A Bangladeshi man who travelled to New York hoping to commit a terrorist attack so severe it would halt the US election was arrested after allegedly trying and failing to detonate a 1,000lb car bomb outside the Federal Reserve.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, parked a van full of what he thought were explosives outside the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Manhattan on Wednesday morning before recording a martyrdom video and then attempting to detonate the ‘bomb’, according to an FBI charge sheet.

But he was arrested by undercover FBI agents whom he had plotted the attack with via Facebook believing they were al-Qaeda leaders.

Had the plot been enacted it would have been the most devastating terror attack on US soil since the September 11 attacks 11 years ago. It is the 15th plot foiled in New York since the World Trade Centre attack, according to the NYPD.

As Nafis appeared in a Brooklyn court last night, the FBI revealed that he had hoped his attack, so close to next month’s Presidential election, would disrupt the campaign, telling undercover agents: “You know what, this election might even stop.”

Agents told how Nafis had written about how he wanted to “destroy America” and spoke about the “beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden” in an article he hoped would be published after the attack.

Nafis travelled to the US on a student visa in January this year, intent on waging a “jihad”, the FBI alleged. In July he went online in an attempt to recruit a terror cell and communicated with undercover FBI agents via Facebook.

Over the course of the next three months he plotted an attack. At first he suggested assassinating a “high ranking US Government official” before turning his attentions to the country’s financial system – first planning to blow up the New York Stock Exchange before settling on the Federal Reserve.

Initially he planned a suicide-bomb attack but his plans changed after he was refused permission by the agents posing as ‘al Qaeda’ operatives to return to Bangladesh to see his family one last time.

During the meetings, Nafis was keen that his plot be carried out under the name of al-Qaeda. When told that al-Qaeda would not be affiliated with his attack should he leave US soil and return temporarily to Bangladesh, he relented and agreed to stay after being told he could detonate the bomb remotely, with no suicide element.

During the planning he explained that he hoped the attack would be “very big”, according to a court document. and would put Muslims “one step closer to run the whole world”.

The charging document states that Nafis “understood that the attack he was planning would result in a large number of civilian casualties… but still wanted to proceed with the attack.”

Nafis is alleged to have told the undercover agents that he planned to attack the financial district and that his ‘Plan B’ involved a suicide mission, if his initial plot was foiled by police.

The FBI provided Nafis with 20 50 pound bags of what he thought were explosives and he constructed the bomb.

He is also said to have written an article, which he hoped would be published in the al-Qaeda magazine ‘Inspire’ explaining his motives.

On Wednesday morning Nafis is alleged to have driven to Manhattan with an undercover FBI agent and what he believed was a 1,000lb bomb in the van.

After parking the van at the Federal Reserve, close to the former site of the Twin Towers, he went to a nearby hotel and recorded a statement in which he addressed the American people, saying: “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”

After recording the video he is alleged to have repeatedly called the mobile phone which acted as the ‘bomb’s’ detonator. When it failed he was arrested. He faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda.

After the arrest the US attorney for the Eatern District of New York said: “As alleged in the complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on US 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. At every turn, he was wrong, and his extensive efforts to strike at the heart of the nation’s financial system were foiled.”

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