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Moroccan Pleads Guilty in US Capitol Bomb Plot

  • VOA News

Amine El Khalifi shown in an artists drawing at a federal court hearing Feb. 2012

Amine El Khalifi shown in an artists drawing at a federal court hearing Feb. 2012

A Moroccan man accused of attempting a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier this year has pleaded guilty and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Amine El Khalifi, an illegal immigrant living in the eastern U.S. state of Virginia, entered the guilty plea in a federal court in the state Friday as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

The 29-year-old El Khalifi was arrested in February in a parking garage near the Capitol, wearing what he thought was a bomb-laden suicide vest provided by al-Qaida. In reality, El Khalifi received the vest and a gun from undercover U.S. agents posing as al-Qaida operatives.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said both the gun and the bomb were inoperable and the public was never in danger.

El Khalifi's arrest followed a months-long operation in which the FBI said he spoke to undercover agents about his desire to attack various Washington-area targets in revenge for what he perceived to be a U.S. war on Muslims.

He was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and could have faced life in prison if he had been convicted at trial.

In a separate case in New York Friday, the founder of the radical website "Revolution Muslim" was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for using the Internet to encourage violent extremism.

A U.S. Justice Department statement says Jesse Curtis Morton and his associates used the "Revolution Muslim" websites to encourage Muslims to engage in violence against those they believed to be enemies of Islam, including the creators of the "South Park" television show.
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