A 21-year-old man has been arrested in New York on charges he attempted to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, authorities have said.
The arrest of Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, was the culmination of an undercover operation during which he was closely monitored by the FBI, the department of justice said in a statement on Wednesday.
Nafis had allegedly been trying to detonate what he believed was a 453-kg bomb.
He now faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda.
Nafis travelled to the US in January to carry out a “terror attack” and reported having overseas connections to al-Qaeda, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn. He was trying to recruit others, but one was a secret FBI source, it said.
|In a written statement, Nafis wrote he wanted to “destroy America”|
Al Jazeera’s Cath Turner, reporting from New York, said: “Nafis got in contact with two undercover FBI agents at the end. He talked to them about launching an attack in New York.”
“According to the court documents, he thought about setting off a bomb inside the New York Stock Exchange and also targeting a high US official but apparently Nafis ended up settling on the Federal Reserve Bank,” she said.
The public was not in danger, because the explosives provided to Nafis by the undercover agent were never in working
condition, according to the department of justice.
It said that in a written statement intended to claim responsibility for the bombing 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.
In this statement, he allegedly 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 bank in New York, located in Manhattan, is one of 12 branches around the country that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, make up the Federal Reserve System that serves as the central bank of the US.