Feds arrest man heading for Capitol on alleged suicide mission
Friday, February 17, 2012
Authorities have arrested a Virginia man allegedly on his way to the U.S. Capitol for what he thought would be a suicide attack on one of the nation's most symbolic landmarks, Fox News has learned.
The man, a Moroccan citizen who has lived in the United States for a dozen years, was identified as Amine El Khalifi, 29, according to a congressional source. He was nabbed following a lengthy investigation by the FBI, initiated after he expressed interest in conducting an attack. He came onto the radar screen in early December after he told an undercover agent about an earlier plan to bomb a northern Virginia building.
The suspect allegedly weighed hitting various targets ranging from a military installation to synagogues to a Washington restaurant before settling on the Capitol.
The man thought undercover FBI agents assisting him in his plot were associates of Al Qaeda. He purchased bomb materials including jackets, nails and glue in preparation for an attack. He even conducted a test explosives demonstration in a quarry.
When he was arrested Friday in Washington, he was carrying with him a vest supposedly packed with explosives, but the material inside was not actually dangerous, Fox News was told.
A short time earlier, he had been praying at a mosque in the Washington area. His destination was Capitol Hill.
The public was never in danger, as he had been under constant surveillance for some time, officials said. The FBI provided the suspect with a disabled gun during their ongoing operation, Fox News has learned.