Friday, May 22, 2009

4 Accused of Bombing Plot at Bronx Synagogues

From The New York Times, May 21, 2009, by AL BAKER and JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ:

Four men were arrested Wednesday night in what the authorities said was a plot to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh, N.Y.

The men, all of whom live in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City, were arrested around 9 p.m. after planting what they believed to be bombs in cars outside the Riverdale Temple and the nearby Riverdale Jewish Center, officials said. But the men did not know the bombs, obtained with the help of an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were fake.

The arrests capped what officials described as a “painstaking investigation” that began in June 2008 involving an F.B.I. agent who had been told by a federal informant of the men’s desire to attack targets in America. As part of the plot, the men intended to fire Stinger missiles at military aircraft at the base, which is at Stewart International Airport, officials said.

...Law enforcement officials identified the four men arrested as James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, all of Newburgh. [Corrected report: One is a Haitian immigrant and the other three are African-Americans; none are of Arabic descent.] At least three were United States citizens, according to officials. They are all Muslim, a law enforcement official said.

...Political leaders responded to the news of the arrests with statements expressing relief.

“This was a very serious threat that could have cost many, many lives if it had gone through,” Representative Peter T. King, Republican from Long Island, said in an interview with WPIX-TV. “It would have been a horrible, damaging tragedy. There’s a real threat from homegrown terrorists and also from jailhouse converts.” ...
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