FBI agents arrested an unnamed man near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. in a sting operation. The man was apparently wearing what he believed was a suicide vest laced with explosives, which may have been given or sold to him by undercover authorities.
The Los Angeles Times reports that FBI Spokesman Bill Carter said: “I can confirm there is an arrest of a suspect in Washington D.C. in connection with a terrorism investigation."
"It is the culmination of an undercover operation in which the suspect was closely monitored by law enforcement. Explosives the suspect allegedly sought to use had been rendered inoperable and posed no threat to the public.”
According to the Guardian, the man in question is Moroccan and kept changing his mind about his target.
"The man changed his mind about his intended target several times, but ultimately decided on the Capitol, after canvassing the area a couple of times, the law enforcement official said. The man is not believed to be associated with al-Qaida.
"Two people briefed on the matter told The Associated Press he was not arrested on the Capitol grounds, and the FBI has had him under surveillance around the clock for several weeks. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record."
The Moroccan man in question has been identified as 29-year-old Amine El Khalifi. The Associated Press reports El Khalifi has been "accused of plotting to carry out what he thought would be a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol." The suspect had "told acquaintances that America's war on terrorism was a war on Muslims and that they needed to be ready for battle, according to authorities."
Unemployed, El Khalifi "started preparations of his own and believed he was working with an al-Qaida operative on the plot, according to court documents and an affidavit. A man brought him an automatic weapon. He got a suicide vest, scouted out targets and practiced setting off explosives, the documents say."
On Friday, U.S. authorities say El Khalifi was set to "detonate the vest at the Capitol" but "ended with his arrest in an FBI sting — not an al-Qaida representative as he believed." During the sting, undercover operatives "gave him a gun and explosives that didn't work, according to an affidavit."