U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI on Friday arrested a Moroccan man who was planning a suicide attack on the Capitol, authorities said.
The suspect, identified as Amine Khalifi, arrived at a federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was expected to make an appearance in the afternoon, court officials said.
In announcing Khalifi’s arrest, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the man had received what he thought was a vest with explosives, but the materials in the vest had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement.
Khalifi was arrested as soon as he accepted the vest from undercover officers, according to a federal law enforcement source. He was also given a gun, which was similarly rendered inoperable, officials said.
The 29-year-old suspect was living in Alexandria and was in the United States illegally, the source said.
A second source, a government official, said the planned attack was meant to be carried out Friday. Khalifi has lived in the United States for 12 years, the government official said. The investigation began when the suspect began talking with an undercover agent.
“The suspect was talking about blowing up military installations, and synagogues and said he wanted to blow up a restaurant,” the government official said.
The man had been closely monitored as part of a lengthy and extensive undercover operation, police said, adding that U.S. Capitol Police had been “intimately” involved in the investigation.
The public was never in danger, police said.
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