Reporting Meghan McCorkell
NEW YORK (WJZ) — A man from Bangladesh is under arrest, accused of trying to detonate a 1,000-lb. car bomb in the middle of Manhattan. He told undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, he wanted to destroy America. WJZ has learned he also considered a strike right here in Baltimore.
Meghan McCorkell has more on this developing story.
Quazi Ahsan Nafis was arrested Wednesday morning in New York City after investigators say he tried to recruit a jihadist cell to attack the United States.
Investigators say Nafis, 21, plotted for four months to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City.
He didn’t know the al-Qaeda operatives he was working with were really undercover FBI agents. He was arrested after he tried to detonate what he thought was a bomb.
“Clearly he had the intent of creating mayhem here, killing people,” New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Nafis is in the United States on a student visa from Bangladesh. He told an informant he came here to wage jihad and sometimes communicated with agents using his Facebook page.
“This individual came here for the express purpose of doing a terrorist act. He was motivated by al-Qaeda,” Kelly said.
Moments before Nafis triggered the fake bomb, he taped a message to the American people saying: “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”
According to the criminal complaint, Nafis considered targeting a military site here in Baltimore. Officials have not said which one.
He chose the Federal Reserve instead because he said he wanted to attack “something very big.”
Public safety expert Rob Weinhold says this arrest is due to law enforcement working together.
“I think law enforcement is doing a much better job of sharing information through technology. So what happens at the local level is very relevent to what happens through transcontinental criminal enterprising,” he said.
Shared information may have prevented a massive tragedy. Court papers also reveal Nafis wanted to kill a high-ranking government official. Other arrests are possible in this case.
Nafis faces life in prison, if convicted.