FBI sting foils terror plot to blow up bank near Ground Zero

A Twitter profile picture said to be of the accused, Qazi Nafis. Picture: Getty
A Twitter profile picture said to be of the accused, Qazi Nafis. Picture: Getty
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A TERRORIST attack in which a man allegedly plotted to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York yesterday has been foiled by US Federal authorities.

• US Federal authorities have foiled a terrorist plot to blow up a bank near the site of Ground Zero in New York

• 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis arrested in connection with incident in lower Manhattan

Law enforcement agencies said they had arrested 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis yesterday morning, after the Bangladeshi national attempted to detonate a van he believed carried an explosive outside the bank building in lower Manhattan.

The plot was thwarted in a sting operation orchestrated by the FBI and New York Police 

The suspect is alleged to have been supplied with inert explosives by an undercover FBI agent, who he met on the internet and believed to be an accomplice.

Nafis parked the vehicle carrying what he thought was a 453kg bomb outside the bank, just blocks away from the World Trade Centre, whose twin towers were destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001.

Nafis then tried setting off the explosive from the nearby Millenium Hotel, using a mobile phone detonator. He was arrested at the scene when the bomb failed to explode.

The FBI were first alerted to the suspect after he posted online about jihad, or holy war.

Nafis appeared in a federal court in Brooklyn yesterday on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda.

He did not enter a plea and has been held without bail.

It is alleged the suspected terrorist travelled to the United States in January this year, with the intention of carrying out an attack on American soil. Nafis was living in the New York City suburb of Queens.

Federal prosecutors said he had recorded a video-taped statement in which he declared: “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”

Federal authorities said the New York Stock Exchange had been among several locations proposed for his attack.

In a written letter, Nafis is 
alleged to have taken responsibility for his intended plan to demolish the Federal Reserve Bank, having said that he wanted to “destroy America”.

Authorities said the public had not been in danger. However, they claimed the case showed the value of using sting operations to neutralise young extremists intent on harming Americans.

The Millenium Hotel, from where Nafis attempted to detonate the fake bomb, sits adjacent to the new World Trade Centre complex..

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the plot showed the continued threat terrorism posed to the city.