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Foiled suicide bombing of US Capitol: plot is both familiar and strange

Since 9/11, a series of would-be attackers – many of them 'lone wolves' – have been thwarted by undercover agents posing as collaborators. But an attempted suicide bombing is unusual.

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An artists' courtroom sketch shows Amine El Khalifi, an illegal immigrant from Morocco, as he is brought before a judge in the Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Friday. El Khalifi was arrested near the US Capitol on Friday wearing a vest he believed was full of Al Qaeda-supplied explosives and charged in an attempted suicide bombing of Congress.

Dana Verkouteren/REUTERS

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The man accused of attempting a suicide bombing at the US Capitol building fell into what has become a typical trap set for would-be terrorist attackers in the United States.

Amine El Khalifi, a 29-year-old immigrant from Morocco in the United States illegally, was arrested Friday following an undercover operation in which US agents – acting on Mr. El Khalifi’s expressed desire and intent to attack government and civilian targets on behalf of Al Qaeda – posed as collaborators, providing what seemed to be operable firearms and explosives.

It was the latest in a series of similar incidents:

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