NBC New York
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis
By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz, NBCNewYork.com
NEW YORK - A suspected terrorist parked a van packed with what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb next to the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan and tried to detonate it Wednesday morning before he was arrested in a terror sting operation, authorities said.
The suspect, 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, is a Bangladeshi national who came to the U.S. on a student visa in January for the specific purpose of launching a terror attack here, authorities said. He allegedly told an undercover agent last month that he hoped the attack would disrupt the presidential election, saying "You know what, this election might even stop," according to the criminal complaint against him.
The complaint said Nafis wrote a statement claiming responsibility
for what he thought would be the Fed attack, saying he wanted to
"destroy America" by going after its economy. He referred to "our
beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden" in the statement.
More about the alleged plot on NBCNewYork.com
also proposed various other targets beyond the Fed building at 33
Liberty Street, just blocks from the World Trade Center site,
prosecutors said. He also considered targeting a "high-ranking U.S.
official" as well as the New York Stock Exchange, prosecutors said.
who lives in Jamaica, Queens, allegedly sought out al-Qaida contacts to
help him, unknowingly recruiting an FBI source in the process. At that
point, the FBI and NYPD began monitoring him as he developed the plot,
An undercover FBI agent posed as an al-Qaida
facilitator, supplying him with 20 50-pound bags of what he thought were
explosives to use in building his bomb. He also visited the
Lower Manhattan site multiple times as he planned the attack, officials
Prosecutors say Nafis met the agent Wednesday morning and
put the bomb inside a van before driving to the Fed building, assembling
the detonator while he drove.
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pair parked the van by the Fed, got out and walked to a hotel, where
Nafis recorded a video statement he meant to be released after the
attack. He then tried to detonate the purported bomb, officials said.
enforcement officials stress that the plot was a sting operation
monitored by the FBI and NYPD and the public was never at risk. The
materials he believed were explosives had been rendered inoperable,
Federal criminal complaint filed against Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafi (PDF)
is expected in court later Wednesday. He is charged with attempting to
use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material
support to al-Qaida.
Jonathan Dienst is WNBC's chief investigative correspondent. Shimon Prokupecz is a WNBC investigative producer.