Authorities in New York City are questioning a man who allegedly tried to blow up the Federal Reserve Wednesday, to find out if he has contacts to other terrorists in the United States.
A sting operation nabbed 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, who is from Bangladesh. Prosecutors said he did not just target the New York Federal Reserve, but tried to blow it up.
They allege Nafis packed what he thought was 1,000 pounds of explosives into a van, parked it outside the Federal Reserve bank, and tried to detonate the bomb with his cell phone.
"When you obtain a truck and bring it to the site of a major federal facility, and you try to detonate it; that goes way past aspirational to me," New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Authorities said Nafis moved to the U.S. in January with the main goal of carrying out an attack.
Investigators said one of the people he contacted was an undercover FBI agent, who supplied him with twenty 50-pound bags of fake explosives. He claimed to be in contact with al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen.
"He said that he did have contact with al-Qaeda officials back in Bangladesh and that he was a very strong supporter of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula which operates out of Yemen," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said.
"It's really scary to know that he lived right next door to us," a neighbor of Nafis said.
Investigators said almost the entire plot unfolded under FBI and New York Police Department surveillance in an elaborate sting operation. At one point Nafis even told an undercover agent he planned to kill the president.
Some residents in the neighborhood where Nafis lived are upset about the type of attention and scrutiny his arrest has brought.
"And especially since he's Bengali, which I am, too," one resident said. "People will always have this type of stereotype thing about Bengali people because of this incident."
Critics have complained about the NYPD surveying communities and places where Muslims gather.
However, Rep. King defended the need to gain intelligence, wanting people to realize how real and lethal the threats are.