A Queens man who wanted to "destroy America" was arrested in a sting operation Wednesday after planting and trying to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb in front of the Federal Reserve Bank, officials said.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, from Bangladesh, is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda for planting fake bomb in a van near the building, according to the FBI. Nafir appeared briefly in Brooklyn federal district court late Wednesday. He was ordered held without bail.
The complaint alleged that Nafir had mulled several targets for his attack, including an unidentified high-ranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange before settling on the Federal Reserve building, on 33 Liberty Street.
"You know what, this election might even stop," Nafis said in a tape-recorded conversation.
Nafis, who lived in Jamaica, was at the center of an FBI sting operation, and was dealing with an FBI undercover agent and a confidential informant working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force who duped him and gave him materials that couldn't detonate.
NYPD counterterrorism officials let Nafir to drive a van packed with fake explosives along with the undercover agent to the financial district and park, the complaint said.
After parking, Nafir and the undercover agent walked to a hotel where Nafir tried to detonate the bomb and recorded a video statement to be released after the blast.
"We will not stop until we obtain victory or martyrdom," Nafir said in a disguised voice on the tape, according to the complaint.
Officials said that Nafir allegedly had a "Plan B" which was suicide bomb attack if the operation against the Federal Reserve was aborted by police.
"Al Qaida operatives and those that inspire them have tried time and gain to make New York City their killing field," Ray Kelly said. "We are now up to 15 plots and counting since (September 11) with the Federal Reserve now added to the list."
Nafis first showed interest in plotting against the U.S. in July when he approached a confidential witness, identified in the complaint as a "CHS" or confidential human source and attempted to recruit the person as a member of a Jihadist cell to carry out terror attacks on U.S. soil, the complaint charged.
The confidential witness wasn't identified but has been arrested on non-terrorism charges, officials said.
Nafis also said he admired the magazine "Inspire," which federal officials have long said is a publication affiliated with al Qaida.
Foiled terror atttacks in NYC
Yesterday's sting was the latest in more than a dozen episodes in which would-be terrorists were caught plotting against city targets.. Among them, according to the NYPD, were these:
2003 al-Qaida scout Iyman Faris was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for providing information to the terrorist group's leaders about possible targets for attack. Faris, a truck driver, rejected the use of "gas cutters" for severing the suspension cables of local bridges (they were built too well) and provided information concerning his deliveries to airport cargo planes, which one leader deemed promising because "they could hold more weight and more fuel," according to Department of Justice documents.
2004 al-Qaida wannabes Shahawar Matin Siraj and James Elshafay were convicted and sentenced to 30 years and five years in prison, respectively, for conspiring to blow up the Herald Square subway station. Taped conversations between Siraj and Osama Eldawoody, an Egyptian nuclear engineer who became a highly paid informant, revealed Siraj expressing his hatred for the U.S. and his desire to bomb local bridges and subway stations.
2010 Two alert street vendors foiled the plot of Faisal Shahzad, who left a smoking car bomb in Times Square made of alarm clocks, fire crackers, gasoline, propane tanks and 250 pounds. of fertilizer, by alerting police officers to a parked car spewing smoke in the crowded area. Shahzad, who was born in Pakistan to an affluent family but had become a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.