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Capitol bomb plot arrest capped yearlong probe

February 19, 2012 • National News


Capitol Police officer Angel Morales, stands on guard on the West side of the Capitol in Washington Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. A 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested Friday in an FBI sting operation near the U.S. Capitol while planning to detonate what police say he thought were live explosives. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Within the last week, authorities say, Amine El Khalifi’s plan to wreak havoc was proceeding as hoped: An al-Qaida associate handed him an automatic weapon to kill security officers inside the U.S. Capitol. A bomb-laden vest would detonate the building. He would die as a martyr.

But there was a problem: The explosives were inert, the gun inoperable and the supposed al-Qaida member was actually an undercover officer, according to court documents.

El Khalifi was arrested Friday in a parking garage on his way to carry out an attack the FBI says he kicked around across multiple states for months, even detonating a practice bomb in a quarry and then asking for a bigger blast, all with varied targets in mind.

An FBI affidavit traces the evolution of the plot from a vague plan to prepare for the “war on Muslims” to more clearly articulated visions of attacking a restaurant and synagogue to, finally, a goal of obliterating the seat of American government.

The document alleges a weeks-long flurry of final activity by El Khalifi, monitored by the FBI and coordinated through an undercover agent, to scope out the building, train in explosives and arm himself for a suicide attack.

As El Khalifi, 29, was making a court appearance Friday on a terrorism-related charge, the FBI executed search warrants inside a gated residential community in Alexandria and at a red-brick ranch house in Arlington, though it wasn’t immediately known what they found.

El Khalifi is scheduled to Login to read more

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