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4 men arrested in suspect NY bombing plot

FOUR men were arrested yesterday in a suspected plot to bomb a synagogue and Jewish community center in New York and to shoot at military planes with stinger missiles, federal law enforcement officials said.

A joint release from the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, the FBI and the New York Police Department said the suspects were charged with plotting to detonate explosives near a synagogue in the Riverdale section of New York's Bronx borough.

The men were also charged with plotting to shoot military planes located at New York's Air National Guard base at Stewart airport in Newburgh, New York, with stinger surface-to-air guided missiles, the statement said.

"The defendants wanted to engage in terrorist attacks. They selected targets and sought the weapons necessary to carry out their plans," Lev Dassin, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in the statement.

The four men, identified as James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, were arrested after buying inactive missiles and inert explosives in a sting operation run by the FBI and other agencies, the complaint said.

The defendants are expected to appear in White Plains, New York, federal court today.

Each man is charged with one count of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, and one count of conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, which also carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

All the men live in Newburgh, New York, authorities said.


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