17032015Tue

Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Family shock at Bangladeshi student's bomb plot arrest

The family of the Bangladeshi student accused of trying to blow up the Federal Reserve in New York have said they are shocked at the accusations faced by him.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis's family told local reporters that he had appeared normal when he had spoken with them just hours before he was arrested in Manhattan in an FBI sting operation.

Nafis is accused of attempting to detonate a bomb created with fake explosives provided by the FBI.

An undercover agent supplied Nafis with 1,000lbs of fake explosives and travelled with the 21-year-old to the Federal Reserve.

Several reports have claimed that Nafis had intended targeting President Barack Obama before switching to the financial institution, the Central Bank of the United States.

"My son couldn't have done it," Nafis's father, Quazi Ahsanullah, told the Associated Press.

Ahsanullah said Nafis was a timid man who was sometimes wary of leaving the house alone.

"He used to take someone to go the roof at night. I can't believe he could be part of [the plot]," Ahsanullah said.

He added that Nafis had convinced the family that he would enjoy better prospects in Bangladesh if he had an American University degree.

"I spent all my savings to send him to America," Ahsanullah said.

But while Nafis's father described him as being devoted to his studies, pointing to Nafis' time at the private North South University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a spokesman for the university told the Associated Press that he had been a poor student who had been put on probation on numerous occasions and threatened with expulsion.

The FBI revealed it had arrested Nafis on Wednesday afternoon.

It said Nafis had "actively sought out al-Qaida contacts within the US to assist in carrying out an attack", and in the process of that search had come across an undercover FBI agent posing as an al-Qaida facilitator.

The agent supplied the "explosives" and met Nafis at a warehouse on Wednesday morning.

The two then drove to the Federal Reserve, located a few blocks from the World Trade Center, in a van loaded with the 1,000lb inert bomb.

Nafis and the agent parked the van and walked to a nearby hotel, where Nafis unsuccessfully attempted to remotely detonate the explosives, the FBI said.

He was arrested by agents from the joint terrorism task force at the scene.

Federal authorities said Nafis had begun seeking out al-Qaida contacts soon after he arrived in the US in January this year. On

Thursday it emerged that Nafis attended Southeast Missouri State University for the spring semester, which ended in May, studying a bachelor's degree in cyber security.

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