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A Moroccan man has been arrested on terrorism charges after allegedly being caught wearing a vest full of explosives near the US Capitol building in Washington.

Amine El Khalifi, who police say is an illegal immigrant, was arrested at a car park just a few blocks from the US Congress.

The 29-year-old faces up to life in prison if convicted of trying to “use a weapon of mass destruction on US property”.

Officials say they had been monitoring El Khalifi for many months. While he thought he was dealing with members of al Qaeda, they were really undercover FBI agents.

Court records suggest he has been in the US for 13 years. An FBI affidavit claims El Khalifi had agreed that the war on terrorism was a “war on Muslims”.

The statement also alleges that he conducted surveillance in the area several times before Friday’s planned attack.

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