Thursday, May 21, 2009

NY terror plot

Four men due in court Thursday to face charges of plotting to bomb Jewish sites and shoot down military planes were arrested after planting what they thought were explosive devices near a synagogue and community center, authorities say.

Federal authorities announced the arrests of James Cromitie -- a.k.a "Abdul Rahman," David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, all of Newburgh, on charges arising from a plot to detonate explosives near a synagogue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and to shoot military planes located at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles.

The suspects were arrested shortly after planting a mock explosive device in the trunk of a car outside the Riverdale Temple and two mock bombs in the backseat of a car outside the Jewish Center, authorities said.

Meantime, New York City's mayor and police commissioner reassured Bronx worshippers following the revelations that the four men plotted to bomb their Jewish temple.

Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Raymond Kelly met privately with congregants Thursday inside the Riverdale Temple. Kelly said neighborhood security was heightened to improve residents' "comfort level."

Kelly reiterated that the men allegedly "wanted to commit Jihad." Bloomberg warned against stereotypes. The mayor stressed that the temple is open to people of all faiths, including a Muslim girl who sometimes prays there.

Officials said the arrests came after a long-running undercover operation that began in Newburgh. Federal authorities tell CBS 2 HD the motive for the attack was revenge over the United States' involvement in Afghanistan.

Cromitie, said to be the leader of the group, is the son of an Afghani immigrant and an African-American woman. It is that connection to Afghanistan, investigators say, and an unhappiness with America's ongoing war efforts abroad that allegedly drove him to become a terrorist.

From WCBSTV here.

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