A thwarted bomb plot to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown New York is the 15th foiled act of terror in the city since 9/11, according to the NYPD.
21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was arrested this morning after officials said he parked a van containing what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb outside the Federal Reserve Bank in the heart of the Financial District.
In the company of an undercover agent whom he believed to be a co-conspirator, Nafis reportedly tried to detonate the explosives, which had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement, from a downtown hotel.
Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, came to the U.S. in January of 2012. According to the FBI, he had overseas ties to al Qaeda and attempted to recruit terrorists when he arrived in the U.S. Undercover agents had been monitoring him as part of the FBI New York Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, in conjunction with the NYPD.
"Al Qaeda operatives and those they have inspired have tried time and again to make New York City their killing field," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said today. "We are up to 15 plots and counting since 9/11, with the Federal Reserve now added to a list of iconic targets that previously included the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, and Citicorp Center."
He added, "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. Vigilance is our watchword now and into the foreseeable future."
Nafis is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda.
Foiled plots targeting NYC in recent years
November 2011: The most recent terror bomb plot that was foiled before today happened nearly a year ago when Manhattan man Jose Pimentel was arrested for creating nail-studded bombs he planned to detonate around the city. Police said he learned to make the bombs from an al Qaeda magazine article called "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."
May 2011: Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh were arrested after police said they plotted to blow up city synagogues and target the Empire State building. Ferhani, a 26-year-old Algerian native who lived in Queens, and Mamdouh, a 20-year-old Moroccan native who also lived in Queens, had been monitored by undercover NYPD officers.
May 2010: Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born American, was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to an attempted car bombing in Times Square. He admitted he received bomb-making training from the Pakistani Taliban and that a group known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, had funded the bomb plot.
September 2009: Zarein Ahemdzay, a Bosnian-born cab driver who lived in Queens, was arrested for plotting to blow up New York City subways. He later pleaded guilty and testified against his alleged co-conspirator.
May 2009: James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen were arrested for placing explosives outside Jewish synagogues in the Bronx. They were later found guilty by a federal jury.
February 2009: Russell Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim, Abdul Kadir and Abdel Nur were arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a jet fuel supply at John F. Kennedy International Airport.