A Moroccan immigrant accused of attempting a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol is scheduled to plead guilty today at a hearing in federal court in Virginia, federal prosecutors said.
Amine El Khalifi, of Alexandria, Virginia, who was caught by an FBI sting operation, was arrested in a parking garage near the Capitol on Feb. 17 after meeting with an undercover agent posing as a member of an armed extremist group.
He was taken into custody as he began walking toward the Capitol carrying a MAC-10 automatic weapon and wearing a vest containing what he believed to be a functioning bomb, according to an affidavit filed in the case by Steven Hersem, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The weapons, both of which were provided by the government, had been made inoperable by investigators, prosecutors said.
A Moroccan national, El Khalifi entered the U.S. in June 1999 on a tourist visa that expired later that year. He has lived in the U.S. illegally since then, according to the affidavit.
He was charged with attempted use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
The plea hearing is scheduled to take place today before U.S. District Judge James Cacheris in Alexandria, according a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Terms of the plea agreement weren’t disclosed.
The case is U.S. v. El Khalifi, 12-mj-00087, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).
To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Forden in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com.