Prosecutor: Fla. Terror Support Suspect Planned NYC Attack
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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A South Florida man accused with is brother in a terrorism support investigation is accused trying to orchestrate a terrorist attack in New York City.
The alleged motive, according to the FBI, was to avenge the deaths of people in Afghanistan and those killed by US Drone attacks. During a pre-trial hearing Monday, prosecutors said 20-year old Raees Qazi was known as “A lone wolf” by his brother who said he was like the man who attempted to set off a bomb in Times Square in May of 2010.
Investigators say Qazi he planned to blow himself up or set off a bomb.
Qazi and his brother Sheheryar Qazi were arrested last month in Oakland Park. They are accused of providing material support to terrorists and attempting to obtain a weapon of mass destruction. Both brothers, naturalized U.S. citizens originally from Pakistan, have pleaded not guilty.
“He admitted, post arrest, that he traveled to New York to carry out an attack,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert. “(He) was unable to get everything he needed then returned here.”
According to investigators Qazi caught a ride to New York on November 23rd. He arrived the next day and slept in a restaurant. The next night he slept on public transportation, then at a mosque before returning home to South Florida on November 27th.
While in New York, federal agents said he rode his bike around and inquired about the crowds at Times Square, wanted to know about Wall Street and the theatre district.
“What are you able to tell us? He’s accused of wanting to go to New York and set off a bomb,” CBS 4’s Ted Scouten asked Raees Qazi’s attorney Daniel Ecarius.
“I can’t comment on that,” he replied.
While his attorney is not talking an FBI agent who took the stand said they found bomb making materials in his home including items like Christmas lights, batteries taped together, “high level” peroxide, wires and pieces of a remote control car.” The agent said an al Qaeda magazine listed those as ingredients for a homemade bomb.
The FBI said it was confidential informants and taped conversations that brought this terror plot down.
“We do everything we can to disrupt any danger to the community,” said Gilbert.
As Qazi asked a federal judge to allow him to bond out, the prosecutor gave a chilling closing remark saying, “He wants to avenge those deaths and kill people.”
In the end, the judge ruled that Raees Qazi was a danger to society and a flight risk and ordered him held without bond.