Jail For NY Synagogue Terror Plotters
1:05am 30th June 2011
(Updated 2:05am 1st July 2011)
Three men have each been jailed for 25 years for planning to attack two New York synagogues and to shoot down US military planes.
James Cromitie, 45, David Williams, 30 and Onta Williams, 35, were arrested in May 2009 following a year-long sting operation.
The men, who were provided with inert explosives by an undercover informant, were convicted in October 2010 after a two-month trial.
The US Attorney's Office said the three had voluntarily agreed to target synagogues and military planes using what they thought were real bombs and missiles.
An FBI informant was approached in June 2008 by Cromitie, who talked to him about Afghanistan.
Cromitie told the informant his parents had lived in Afghanistan, and said that if he died a martyr, he would "go to paradise".
The informant told Cromitie he was involved with a Pakistan-based terrorist group known as Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Cromitie said he would like to join the group to "do jihad".
The informant continued to meet Cromitie, the two other defendants and a fourth defendant, Laguerre Payen, who has not yet been sentenced.
The group discussed attacking synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and shooting down military aircraft from the Air National Guard Base in Newburgh.
The informant provided the men with a non-functioning surface-to-air guided missile and three Improvised Explosive Devices, each with C-4 plastic explosive.
The men were arrested as they took "active steps to carry out the operation".
The men's defence team claimed they were victims of entrapment, but Assistant US Attorney David Raskin said the sting did not undermine the seriousness of the men's crimes.
He said: "The bombs that they were going to use were supposed to kill a lot of people. The fact that they were all fake really doesn't matter."