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Suspect in Capitol bomb plot waives right to hearings

Amine El Khalifi was arrested Friday near the U.S. Capitol, where officials say he was planning to detonate a vest he thought was filled with explosives.

El khalifi house 2012 02 22Enlarge
A house believed to be where 29-year-old Amine El Khalifi lived is seen Feb. 17 in Arlington, Va. El Khalifi, an undocumented immigrant from Morocco, is accused of attempting to detonate a vest bomb at the Capitol. (Alex Wong/AFP/Getty Images)

A Moroccan man suspected of plotting a suicide attack in the U.S. Capitol waived his rights to preliminary and detention hearings in court Wednesday.

Amine El Khalifi, 29, was arrested Friday near the Capitol, where he was planning to detonate what he thought was a vest filled with explosives, given to him by undercover FBI officers, The Associated Press reported.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was ordered held pending indictment on a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, according to the AP.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

More from GlobalPost: Amine El Khalifi, terrorism suspect, arrested near Capitol

Court documents allege that El Khalifi is a native of Morocco who has been living illegally in the U.S. for more than a decade, the AP reported.

Authorities said he discussed plans to attack an Alexandria office building and a synagogue with an undercover operative he thought was a member of Al Qaeda. Later, El Khalifi allegedly volunteered to wear a suicide vest and to kill himself in a martyrdom operation at the Capitol, according to the AP.

Reuters reported that law enforcement officials rendered the explosives "inoperable" and they posed no threat, according to Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd.

According to court papers, El Khalifi told his supposed co-conspirators that he would be happy if he could kill 30 people in the attack.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120222/suspect-capitol-bomb-plot-waives-right-hearings