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Bangladeshi man (21) held after elaborate sting

THIS is the Bangladeshi man the FBI says went to the USA to wage jihad with a 1,000lb car bomb. He was arrested in an elaborate FBI sting after allegedly attempting to blow up the Federal Reserve in Manhattan.



Before trying to carry out the terror plot, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis went to a warehouse to help assemble a 1,000lb bomb, the FBI said.

He allegedly asked an undercover agent to video him saying: "We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom."

Agents grabbed the 21-year-old as he made several attempts to blow up the bomb with a mobile phone he believed was rigged as a detonator.



Extremist

Authorities emphasised that the plot never posed an actual risk as the bomb was a fake made with inert material.

However, they claimed the case demonstrated the value of using sting operations to neutralise young extremists.

"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure," said Mary Galligan, of the FBI's New York office.

Nafis appeared in a federal court in Brooklyn to face charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qa'ida.

Wearing a brown T-shirt and black jeans, he was ordered to be held without bail and did not enter a plea.

His lawyer had no comment outside court.

The defendant had sought assurances from an undercover agent posing as an al-Qa'ida contact that the terrorist group would support the operation.

"The thing that I want to do, ask you about, is that, the thing I'm doing, it's under al-Qa'ida?" he was recorded saying during a meeting in a bugged hotel room in Queens, according to the criminal complaint.

In a September meeting, Nafis "confirmed he was ready to kill himself during the course of the attack, but indicated he wanted to return to Bangladesh to see his family one last time to set his affairs in order," the complaint said.

Prosecutors say Nafis travelled to America on a student visa in January to carry out an attack.

In July, he contacted an informant, telling him he wanted to form a terror cell, the criminal complaint said.

In further conversations, authorities said Nafis proposed several spots for his attack, including the New York Stock Exchange -- and that in a written letter taking responsibility for the Federal Reserve job he was about to carry out, he said he wanted to "destroy America".



Twitter

Other communications took place through Facebook, the complaint said.

A Twitter account with the suspect's name and photo had six followers and two messages and was linked to a Facebook page that had been taken down.

Nafis attended Southeast Missouri State University during the spring term, university spokeswoman Ann Hayes said.

He was pursuing a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity.

Federal officials were at the New York home where Nafis was staying, a red brick building in the Queens neighbourhood.

hnews@herald.ie


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