NEW YORK, May 20 (UPI) -- Four men are facing charges they plotted to bomb a New York City Jewish synagogue and community center, federal authorities said Wednesday.
In addition to planning an attack on a synagogue in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, the four U.S.-born suspects also allegedly wanted to shoot down military aircraft at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles, the FBI and U.S. attorney's office said in a news release.
Working with an informant, and the FBI and other agencies monitored the suspects for months until their arrest Tuesday. They also provided an inactive missile and inert explosives to the informant for the defendants.
The four are expected to appear in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y., Thursday.
The four were identified by federal authorities as James Cromitie of Newburgh, David Williams, Onta Williams and Leguerre Payen.
Cromitie allegedly the informant his parents had lived in Afghanistan and he was upset about the war there. He allegedly expressed interest in returning to Afghanistan and talked about how if he were to die a martyr, he would go to "paradise."
"As alleged in the complaint, the defendants wanted to engage in terrorist attacks," Acting U.S. Attorney Lev. L. Dassin said. "They selected targets and sought the weapons necessary to carry out their plans. Fortunately, the defendants sought the assistance of a witness cooperating with the government. While the weapons provided to the defendants by the cooperating witness were fake, the defendants thought they were absolutely real."