The four men arrested Wednesday for allegedly plotting to bomb a Jewish community center and a synagogue in Bronx, New York, have been charged with “conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States” and “conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles,” CNN reported.
According to a criminal complaint filed in White Plains, New York, U.S. citizen David Williams, James Cromitie, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen from Haiti, met with an undercover FBI informant to get what they thought were actual weapons. The men alledgedly planned to blow up two Jewish facilities and use surface-to-air missles to shoot down U.S. military planes.
“While the weapons provided to the defendants by the cooperating witness were fake, the defendants thought they were absolutely real,” acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin said in a statement. “The bombs had been made by FBI technicians. They were totally inert; no one was ever at risk or in danger of being injured.”
A CNN report said the men planted fake bombs at a synagogue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and New York Police Department used an 18-wheeler truck to block the men’s getaway vehicle. If convicted, the defendants face life in prison.
The U.S. attorney’s statement alleged that Cromitie, ringleader of the group, told the FBI informant at a meeting in 2008 he was “angry” about the war in Afghanistan and he wanted to “do something to America.”
During a hearing held yesterday, prosecutor Eric Snyder said the accused wanted to “bring death to Jews.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center released a statement denouncing the men’s actions.
“The targeting of any house of prayer in the United States is a threat to all religious groups and all religious leaders have an obligation to speak out publicly against this planned outrage.”
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg commended law enforcement agencies for foiling the plot and apprehending the suspects.
“While the bombs these terrorists attempted to plant tonight were—unbeknownst to them—fake, this latest attempt to attack our freedoms shows that the homeland security threats against New York City are sadly all too real and underscores why we must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorism,” he said in a written statement.