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Later, Mr. Nafis “confirmed he was ready to kill himself during the course of the attack, but indicated he wanted to return to Bangladesh to see his family one last time to set his affairs in order,” the complaint said.

But there was no allegation that Mr. Nafis actually received training or direction from the terrorist group.

The federal case was the latest where a terrorism plot against the city turned out to be a sting operation.

Four men were convicted in 2009 in a plot to bomb synagogues and shoot down military planes with missiles — a case that began after an FBI informant was assigned to infiltrate a mosque in Newburgh, N.Y., about 70 miles north of New York City. The federal judge hearing the case said she was not proud of the government’s role in nurturing the plot.

A Pakistani immigrant was convicted in 2006 for a scheme to blow up the subway station at Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan. His lawyers argued that their client had been set up by a police informant who showed him pictures of Iraq abuse to get him involved in an attack against civilians.

The bank in New York, located at 33 Liberty St., is one of 12 branches around the country that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, make up the Federal Reserve System, which serves as the central bank of the United States. It sets interest rates.

Dozens of governments and central banks store a portion of their gold reserves in high-security vaults deep beneath the building. In recent years, it held 216 million troy ounces of gold, or more than a fifth of all global monetary gold reserves, making it a bigger bullion depository than Fort Knox.

As a result, the Federal Reserve is one of the most fortified buildings in the city, smack in the middle of a massive security effort headed by the New York Police Department, where a network of thousands of private and police cameras watch for suspicious activity.

Mr. Obama will be in New York on Thursday night. He will appear with Republican challenger Mitt Romney at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, an annual political event.