Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have arrested a man after he allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb outside the Federal Reserve Bank in the lower Manhattan’s financial district of New York City.
According to a press release issued by FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, 20 year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis (Nafis) was arrested Wednesday morning and is charged with "attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda."
Nafis' arrest came after a several months long undercover investigation monitored by the FBI's New York Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). A New York Magazine report states Nafis reportedly parked a vehicle on Liberty Street near the bank. The car contained what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb. Nafis attempted to use his cell phone to detonate the bomb and was then taken into custody. The bomb had been disarmed by law enforcement prior to detonation attempt. Both the FBI and NYPD have assured the public that there was never a risk of explosion.
In statement issued by the FBI after the arrest, authorities say: "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."
Nafis is a Bangladeshi national who arrived in the U.S. in January of this year. He is a student and currently lives in the New York City borough of Queens. Nafis came to the U.S. to recruit people to form an al Qaida terror cell operating in the U.S. according to WNYC.
The FBI press release quotes Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, as saying:
“As alleged in the complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan. The defendant thought he was striking a blow to the American economy. He thought he was directing confederates and fellow believers. At every turn, he was wrong, and his extensive efforts to strike at the heart of the nation’s financial system were foiled by effective law enforcement. We will use all of the tools at our disposal to stop any such attack before it can occur. We are committed to protecting the safety of all Americans, including the hundreds of thousands who work in New York’s financial district,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “I would like to thank our partners at the FBI, NYPD, the other agencies who participate in the JTTF, and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division for their hard work on this important investigation. I would also like to thank the security teams at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the New York Stock Exchange for their assistance.”
As alleged in the criminal complaint, Rezwanul Nafis devised this attack plan himself and came to the United States for the purpose of carrying out such an attack. I thank all those responsible for ensuring that his alleged plans never came to fruition."CBS News states the Justice Department has confirmed that Nafis had previously written a statement claiming responsibility for the bombing of the Federal Reserve Bank, stating the bombing was on behalf of al Qaeda. He also states that he wanted to "destroy America" and that targeting the U.S. economy was the best way to accomplish that goal. Nafis' statement also included quotes from 'our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden' as a way to justify the expected loss of life of women and children.