A Federal Reserve bomb plot was foiled by the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force Wednesday, and Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a jihadist from Bengladesh, was arrested. The 21-year-old Jamaica, Queens student attempted to detonate a 1,000-pound bomb and demolish the regional bank at 7:25 a.m.
The Federal Reserve bomb plot was tracked nearly from the beginning by counter-terrorism forces, however, who stymied Nafis' plans. An FBI informant obtained fake materials for the jihadist's bomb on Oct. 12, so when he tried to activate it via cell phone, nothing happened.
"Before entering Manhattan, Nafis armed the purported explosive device for detonation by turning on the cellular phone to be used in the detonator, installing the battery in the detonator and connecting the wires linking the detonator to the purported explosive materials," the criminal complaint from his case reads.
Though the inert bomb in the van- it was parked on Liberty St. next to the Federal Reserve Bank- never went off, authorities allowed him to attempt to activate it via cell phone. Nafis was arrested in the Millenium Hilton Hotel nearby, where he was recording a video explaining the attacks-methods used by his "beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden."
"We will not stop until we attain victory of martyrdom," he threatened on tape, though it is unknown if he had any actual al-Qaeda affiliation, according to reports.
Nafis, a devout Muslim, claimed that his inspiration came from the actions of al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by U.S. drone attacks. The sermons of the high-ranking terrorist convinced him to emigrate with "the avowed purpose of committing some sort of jihad in the United States," said New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
"What we know is that Awlaki was a motivator for this person," he told reporters. "[Nafis] clearly had the intent of creating mayhem here."
Nafis considered other targets, including President Barack Obama and the New York Stock Exchange. After realizing the "significant security" around the exchange, he shifted his target to the Federal Reserve. His conspiracy to "wage jihad" makes him the 15th terrorist whose plan was thwarted in NYC.
"Al Qaeda operatives and those they have inspired have tried time and again to make New York City their killing field," Kelly explained. "After 11 years without a successful attack, it's understandable if the public becomes complacent. But that's a luxury law enforcement can't afford."
Nafis was arraigned Wednesday in Brooklyn Federal Court. If he is convicted, he faces life in prison.