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HomeCrimeMorrocan born man arrested in plot to blow up U.S. Capitol

Morrocan born man arrested in plot to blow up U.S. Capitol

A 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested on Friday in an FBI sting operation near the U.S. Capitol while planning to detonate what police said he thought were live explosives.

Amine El Khalifi of Alexandria, Virginia, was taken into custody with the fake gun and explosives given to him by undercover FBI agents he believed were al-Qaeda members.

Authorities said the suspect was closely monitored by law enforcement, and the would-be explosives had been deactivated, so the public was never in danger.

Officials say he has recently arrived at a federal court in Alexandria, where he is scheduled to appear later this evening.

Two people briefed on the matter told The Associated Press he was not arrested on the Capitol grounds, and the FBI has had El Khalifi under surveillance around the clock for several weeks.

A U.S. law enforcement official said the El Khalifi was canvassing the U.S. Capitol with violent intentions, Fox News first reported.

He was not believed to have any known connections to al-Qaeda, the AP reported, though NBC News said that the man had overstayed his visa and was in the country illegally.

Police are currently canvassing El Khalifi’s hometown of Alexandria as the investigation continues. Officials say they believe he was acting alone.

They say he was targeting the Capitol Hill Visitor Centre, though he changed his mind about the intended target a few times.

‘He wanted to set off the explosives where people would be around,’ an official said to NBC News.

El Khalifi expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington.

He finally settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times, a counterterrorism official told the AP.

Fox News said that he had come into the country with a family member and then popped up on the FBI’s radar.

Agents said he got more extreme as time passed, and allegedly had ambitions to become the first suicide bomber on U.S. soil.

Federal agents posing as al-Qaeda operatives provided him with what he thought was a suicide vest this morning, though the explosives were deactivated.

He was taken down by federal agents outside of the FBI’s Wasington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force, CBS News said.

The news network said that El Khalifi was praying at a mosque somewhere in Washington area Friday morning, before the alleged mission.

An official told the Post that he was arrested only a few blocks from the Capitol in an alley.

The suspect will appear in federal court as early as this afternoon.

At least 20 people have been arrested by federal agents on terrorism-related charges in the past year, the Senate Intelligence Committee told the Post.

The plot used by FBI agents is similar to those used in the past. Last September, a man was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly plotting to use remote-controlled airplanes filled with explosives to attack the Capitol.Likewise, back in November 2010, a Somali-born teenager allegedly plotted to bomb a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. He was receiving help from what he thought were jihadists, but were in fact federal agents.

The foiled plot comes only a day after the so-called underwear bomber, Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his failed Christmas Day attack.

Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a plane by detonating a bomb, but the explosion only caused a brief fire that badly burned his groin.

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Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chiefhttp://www.mikodreamz.com
Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the NOLA Music Awards from 2012-present & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. Her PR work has been highly recognized & awarded. She was/is publicist for the late great BTY YoungN, 0017th and more. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Arlene@theheatmag.com. Follow her on Twitter - @CategorySeven & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.
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