NEW YORK (RNN) - Authorities have stopped a plot to blow up the Federal Reserve building.
The FBI on Wednesday morning detained one suspect who it believes is responsible for the attempted attack, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, from Bangladesh.
The FBI arrested Nafis in lower Manhattan after he attempted to detonate a 1,000 pound bomb. He assembled the bomb inside a van earlier in the morning on his way into NYC.
The public was never at risk, according to authorities. The explosives in the Federal Reserve bomb plot were not active, and two of the suspect's accomplices were an FBI source and an undercover agent.
"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure," said FBI New York Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan. "The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences."
Nafis will be arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court and charged with attempting to provide material support and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
He traveled to the U.S. in January and actively sought out al-Qaeda contacts within the U.S. to assist in carrying out an attack, according to the FBI in New York.
He was enrolled as a full-time student at Southeast Missouri State University from January to May 2012 majoring in cyber security.
The FBI said Nafis proposed several targets for his attack, including a high-ranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange. In a written statement meant to claim responsibility for the intended attack on the Fed, Nafis referred to "our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden" to justify his intention to kill women and children.
He recorded a video statement to the public, stating: "We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom." Nafis wanted to "destroy America," according to the FBI, and believed the best way was to target the U.S. economy.
An undercover FBI agent posed as Nafis's al-Qaeda facilitator and provided him with inert materials to assemble and detonate the bomb. The FBI arrested the suspect immediately after he unsuccessfully attempted to set off the bomb.
The New York Fed employs about 2,700 officers and staff at the head office and the regional office in East Rutherford, NJ, according to its website.
The bank works within the Federal Reserve System and with other public and private sector institutions to foster safety, soundness and growth of the nation's economy and financial systems.
It is one of 12 regional reserve banks that combine with the Board of Governors in Washington to make the Federal Reserve System.
The Federal Reserve Bank holds the largest stash of gold bullion in the world in a vault 80 feet below its surface.
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