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FBI-NYPD task force foils Federal Reserve bomb plot

October 17, 2012|By Tina Susman
  • The Federal Reserve in New York. A Bangladeshi national was arrested Wednesday in what federal authorities said was a plot to blow up the building. Correction: A previous photo incorrectly showed a picture of the Federal Reserve building in Washington.
The Federal Reserve in New York. A Bangladeshi national was arrested Wednesday… (Spencer Platt / Getty Images )

NEW YORK -- Federal agents Wednesday arrested a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man in Manhattan who authorities said planned to detonate what he thought was a massive bomb outside the New York Federal Reserve Bank building.

The man, who was identified as Quazi Mohammad Reswanul Ahsan Nafis, claimed to have ties to Al Qaeda and was in New York trying to recruit people, according to a complaint.

According to a statement released by the FBI, Nafis entered the United States on a student visa in January 2012 but his real purpose was to wage "jihad," or holy war. Unbeknownst to him, one of the people he tried to recruit was an FBI source, who met with Nafis several times through the summer and into the fall, the statement said.

As he plotted his attack, Nafis  considered several different targets but finally decided on the Federal Reserve Bank building because he wanted to "destroy America," according to the statement.

He concluded that the best way to do that was to target the country's economy, according to the complaint, which detailed Nafis' accumulation of what he thought was material to build a 1,000-pound bomb.

On Wednesday morning, it said he tried to detonate the purported bomb -- which was actually a harmless dud packed into a vehicle parked outside the Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan. Nafis faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, and attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda, and he was expected to appear in federal court in New York on Wednesday.

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tina.susman@latimes.com

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