Moroccan Man Arrested for Planning Suicide Bombing on U.S. Capitol
Mark Wilson/Getty Images - The FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police arrested a man Friday after a lengthy investigation into an alleged plot to carry out a suicide attack on the Capitol.
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Amine el-Khalifi, 29, was picked up while carrying an inoperable gun and a fake suicide vest provided to him by undercover FBI agents posing as al-Qaeda associates, U.S. officials said. They said he entered the United States when he was 16 and was living as an illegal immigrant in Arlington, Va., having reportedly overstayed his visitor's visa for years.
Khalifi was arrested in a parking garage on Constitution Avenue NW a few blocks from the Capitol following a year-long investigation, officials said.
The first official word of the arrest came in a cryptic news release from the Capitol Police that said an unidentified individual was arrested "in the area of the U.S. Capitol" but that "at no time was the public or congressional community in any danger."
The statement said the arrest "was the culmination of a lengthy and extensive operation during which the individual was closely and carefully monitored."
The statement provided no other details, but a U.S. official said a Moroccan man was picked up near the Labor Department on his way to the Capitol for what he thought would be a suicide attack. He was carrying with him a vest that he believed was packed with explosives but that actually contained harmless material, officials said.
The man thought he was being assisted by members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, but they were really undercover FBI agents, officials said.
"We can confirm that there has been an arrest of a suspect in Washington, D.C., in connection with a terrorism investigation," said Peter Carr, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride in Virginia, where the investigation is centered.
"The arrest was the culmination of an undercover operation during which the suspect was closely monitored by law enforcement," Carr said in a statement. "Explosives the suspect allegedly sought to use in connection with the plot had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public. Additional information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time."
Source: Washington Post | William Branigin and Del Quentin Wilber
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