Washington bomb plot foiled by FBI posing as al-Qa'ida

 

A terror suspect was arrested in Washington DC yesterday as he prepared to launch what he thought would be a lethal suicide attack on the US Congress.

The man, said to be from Morocco, was detained as he made his way to carry out the attack, wearing a concealed vest packed with what he believed were explosives.

The materials were in fact inert and had been supplied to him by FBI agents pretending to be al-Qa'ida members. Officials did not indicate that the terror network was involved, however, meaning he may have been acting alone.

The FBI stressed that because of its investigation no one on Capitol Hill had been in danger of physical harm, but the mere fact that such a plot existed, and that it might have been carried out by a would-be radical Islamist, will be a sobering reminder that the terror risk on US soil remains even after the death of Osama bin Laden.

"We can confirm that there has been an arrest of a suspect in Washington DC in connection with a terrorism investigation," said Peter Carr, a spokesman for prosecutors in nearby Virginia, where the FBI investigation and surveillance operation were based. "The arrest was the culmination of an undercover operation, during which the suspect was closely monitored by law enforcement. Explosives the suspect allegedly sought to use in connection with the plot [were] rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public."

Many details of the foiled plot were still not available last night. But it appeared that the man entered the US from Morocco with a family member and came to the attention of anti-terror agents soon afterwards. The FBI then set about duping him that their agents were al-Qa'ida contacts dispatched to help him carry out the bombing.

The suspect, said to be in his 30s, was tracked by undercover agents as he arrived in Washington and made his way to Capitol Hill. He was arrested in a car park at the Labour Department, just a few blocks from Congress.

The drama came a day after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, was jailed for life for trying to blow up a Delta Airlines flight as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, with a bomb hidden in his underpants.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before