A Massachusetts man agreed to plead guilty on charges of attempting to damage and destroy a federal building, as well as to provide material support to terrorists, authorities announced on Tuesday. The prosecution and the lawyers for Rezwan Ferdaus, a US citizen of Bangladeshi descent born and raised in Massachusetts, came to an agreement [Reuters report] for a 17-year sentence in exchange for the government dismissing remaining charges. Ferdaus was arrested [FBI press release] last September and charged with six counts in his plot to damage or destroy the Pentagon and US Capitol using large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives, as well as with attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] during its attacks on US soldiers stationed overseas. A physics graduate from Northeastern University, Fergus obtained explosives, three grenades and six assault rifles from undercover FBI agents in the sting operation. He had initially declined to plead guilty to the charges.
Authorities have been tracking down members and supporters of the al Qaeda and other terrorists groups. Earlier this month, French authorities announced [JURIST report] that they have arrested a suspected terrorist alleged to have ties to al-Qaeda. He has been charged with planning terrorist acts and financing a terrorist enterprise. In June a New York native and terrorism suspect pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to charges that he provided the al Qaeda with money and computer assistance. In February Egyptian authorities reportedly arrested [JURIST report] a former al Qaeda military commander at an airport in Cairo. Saif al-Adel [Telegraph profile] was detained upon his arrival after noticing that his name appeared on the passenger list on a flight from Pakistan. During the same month, a judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky [official website] allowed [JURIST report] certain secret evidence to be used against a suspect who was charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists and terrorist organizations and conspiracy to transfer weapons to terrorist organizations, specifically al Qaeda.