Federal Agents Arrest Capitol Bomb Plotter
Federal authorities arrested Amine El Khalifi, a 29-year-old Moroccan who allegedly plotted to carry a suicide bombing at the US Capitol. This is the most recent arrest resulting from undercover sting operations.
The suspect has considered attacking targets that included a synagogue, an Alexandria building with military offices, and a Washington restaurant where military officials eat often. He was arrested a few blocks from the Capitol on Friday while carrying what he believed was a loaded automatic weapon and a suicide vest that was ready to blow.
Khalifi thought that the gun and vest were provided by the al-Qaeda but in reality it was given to him by undercover FBI agents who have incapacitated the weapons before they reached the suspect. He has been the subject of a long probe and has not been a threat to the public.
On Friday afternoon, he made his initial court appearance in US District Court in Alexandria. He was charged with attempted use of weapon of mass destruction against a federal property where he could be sentenced for life in prison if found guilty.
According to Neil H. MacBride, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Khalifi believed he was working with the al-Qaeda terror group. He devised the plot, targets and the methods. Critics have accused the federal investigators of provoking terror suspects and suggesting possible strategies and targets.