Man trying to 'blow up' US Capitol building arrested

Washington, Feb 18: A Moroccan man has been arrested here for planning to "blow himself up" in the US Capitol building as part of a suicide attack, the Department of Justice said. The man, identified as Amine El Khalifi, 29, was produced before a federal court yesterday afternoon hours after his arrest.

Federal authorities, however, said the Congress was never in danger as Khalifi was working for an "undercover FBI agent".

The Department of Justice said the arrest of Khalifi was the culmination of an "undercover operation during which he was closely monitored by the FBI Washington Field Office's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)". The explosives and firearm that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered "inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public".

"The complaint filed today alleges that Amine El Khalifi sought to blow himself up in the US Capitol Building. El Khalifi allegedly believed he was working with al-Qaeda and devised the plot, the targets and the methods on his own," said US Attorney Neil MacBride.

"Today's case underscores the continuing threat we face from homegrown violent extremists," Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco said, adding "thanks to a coordinated law enforcement effort, El Khalifi's alleged plot was thwarted before anyone was harmed".

FBI Assistant Director in Charge, McJunkin said this individual allegedly followed a "twisted, radical ideology that is not representative of the Muslim community in the United States".

According to the criminal complaint affidavit, in January 2011, a confidential human source reported to the FBI that Khalifi met with other individuals at a residence in Arlington, Virginia. During this meeting, one individual produced what appeared to be an AK-47, two revolvers and ammunition. 


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