A Bangladeshi national is being held in connection with a plot to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City. The suspect, 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, was arrested Wednesday morning, according to court documents.
He was charged in a federal court in Brooklyn with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. Nafis was held without bail and did not enter a plea. His attorney had no comment for media outside the court house.
A resident of Jamaica, Queens, in New York, Nafis had met this summer with an undercover FBI agent posting as an Al Qaeda contact who provided him with inert explosives. He allegedly assembled the 1,000-lb (450-kg) bomb and armed it while the agent drove him to the Fed, one of 12 branches that comprise the system that serves as America's central bank.
The bank, at 33 Liberty Street, is just a few short blocks from the site of the “9/11” Al Qaeda attack that brought down the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center. It is also one of the most fortified buildings in the city, and home to a larger depository of gold bullion than Fort Knox.
Court papers revealed that Nafis also asked the agent to videotape the process, saying, “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”The suspect then tried to detonate it remotely from a nearby hotel, where he was then arrested.
According to the report, Nafis came to the U.S. on a student visa in January to recruit people to join a terror cell to attack major targets. On the list of possible targets were the New York Fed, the New York Stock Exchange and/or an unidentified top U.S. official.
The wannabe Al Qaeda operative attended Southeast Missouri State University during the spring semester, pursuing a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, university spokeswoman Ann Hayes told The Independent.
"New York continues to be very much in the mind frame of terrorism,” commented police commissioner Ray Kelly. “This individual came here with the express purpose of committing a terrorist attack; he was motivated by Al Qaeda. We see this threat as being with us for a long time to come.”