by Nora Bosworth
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 23, arrived to the United States in January on a student visa, and settled in Jamaica, Queens. About six months later, according to court documents, Nafis attempted to recruit various men for a jihadist terrorist attack on American land. But there was a substantial glitch in his plan: one of the people he propositioned was an informer for the F.B.I.
On Wednesday, Nafis was arrested after allegedly trying to detonate what he thought was a thousand-pound bomb, in front of the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan, the F.B.I announced in a subsequent press release. The next day federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Nafis with trying to use a weapon of mass destruction and with attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda.
The F.B.I. informer with whom Nafis worked recorded an early telephone conversation they had, in which the young Bangladeshi specified that he was living in New York City, intending to recruit more men, and alluded to “martyrdom”. F.B.I. agents and members of the New York Police Department worked closely with Nafis throughout the rest of his planning, convincing him that he was conspiring remotely with Al Qaeda’s leaders.
One agent pretended to be an Al Qaeda member and supplied him with fake explosives, at Nafis’ behest. In August, Nafis scouted the area around the bank various times. On the day of the intended attack, Nafis drove in a van with the same undercover official to the bank, parking the car that bore the artificial bomb, the F.B.I. reported. After leaving the van in front of the bank, Nasif purportedly went to a local hotel where he recorded the video he planned to emit after the attack.
During his video, the complaint states, Nassif proclaimed, “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”
He then tried, unsuccessfully, to set off the inert explosives by calling a cell phone he had installed as a detonator. Agents traced the calls and subsequently arrested the defendant.
After Wednesday’s arrest, the F.B.I.’s Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge, Mary Galligan, commented on the averted nightmare: “Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure.”
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