An alleged would-be suicide bomber was arrested
on his way to what he believed would be an attack on the U.S. Capitol
Friday, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Amine El Khalifi, 29, an illegal immigrant from Morocco, was charged in a Virginia court with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against government property. He could face up to life in prison.
Law enforcement officials had become aware of his alleged desire to attack U.S. targets and he was later introduced to agents posing as members of al-Qaeda.
El Khalifi proposed a bomb attack against U.S. military facilities, a synagogue or a restaurant frequented by military officers before settling on the Capitol as a target in what he allegedly believed was a broader al-Qaeda operation, the Justice Department said.
Agents posing as al-Qaeda members had provided him with a fake gun and fake explosives in a suicide vest at a parking garage on Friday that they claim he intended to set off at the Capitol. He had apparently surveyed the building on multiple occasions in recent weeks and met with the agents to discuss details of the attack.
The U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI arrested El Khalifi in the parking garage near the Capitol.
"At no time was the public or congressional community in any danger," a police spokeswoman said.
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