The entrance Federal Reserve Bank of New York, located at 33 Liberty Street.(AFP Photo / Andrew Burton)
The FBI has arrested a 21-year-old Bangladeshi national they say intended to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan this morning, only a few blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood.
The man, identified as Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, is reported to have conspired with undercover officers working for both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department in an effort to blow up the bank branch, but local network NBC 4 says the public was never at risk. On Wednesday afternoon, he was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, Reuters reports.
Authorities allegedly provided the man with fake explosives and assisted him in constructing the foiled plot after online posts he is thought to have authored referenced jihad. The complaint also includes quotes attributed to the suspect that references former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
He was arrested early Wednesday after he attempted to detonate what he thought was a 1,000 pound bomb near the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street in the city’s financial district. He will be arraigned soon in Brooklyn Federal Court.
A criminal complaint filed in court on Wednesday suggests that Nafis traveled to the United States in January with the purpose of waging a terrorist attack. The document alleges that he had considered other targets before settling on the Fed branch, and even debated harming an unnamed, high-ranking US official.
“Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure. The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences. It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism,” FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan tells reporters, WABC News reports.