18 Oct 2012

New York bomb plotter caught in FBI sting

7:30 pm on 18 October 2012

US officials have arrested a man for plotting to detonate what he thought was a massive bomb in front of the Federal Reserve building in New York.

The arrest is the latest in a series of so-called "sting" operations run by the FBI and anti-terror authorities in the United States, the BBC reports.

The FBI says Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, of Bangladesh, travelled to the US with the intent of planning a terrorist attack but there was never a threat, as he had been closely watched.

Charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, he entered no plea when brought before a federal court on Wednesday.

Mr Nafis travelled to the US in January 2012 and sought out contacts to help him with the attack, officials said in a complaint filed in New York on Wednesday.

One of the people he contacted turned out to be a source working for the FBI, US federal prosecutors said.

He was placed under surveillance, and the undercover FBI agent sold him 20 bags of what the agent said contained 23kg of explosives. The suspect then bought and assembled fake detonators and timing devices thinking they were real.

New York police commissioner Ray Kelly says the original target was the New York Stock Exchange but Mr Nafis switched to the Federal Reserve because the exchange is more heavily-guarded.

In a statement intended to claim responsibility for the would-be attack, he allegedly said he believed the most efficient way of destroying America was to target the US economy.