Four men were arrested for planting bombs at a Jewish Synagogue and a Jewish Community Center in The Bronx, police said. The bombs turned out to be fakes, but police say the defendants were planning a holy war against America. The bombs were placed in cars outside the Riverdale Temple and Jewish Center. The men were also planning to shoot down a military plane, authorities said.
James Cromities, David William, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen are all from Newburgh, about 60 miles North of New York City.
“They were disturbed about what happened in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that Muslims were being killed,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Three of the men are U.S. citizens and the fourth is from Haiti. Also three of the defendants are converts to Islam and one of the men, Payen, attended a mosque in Newburgh. He often had to be corrected on his statements about Islam, said Assistant Imam Hamin Rashada.
The men will go on trial in a federal court Thursday in White Plains. The man from Haiti is currently being treated for an unknown illness, but he will go on trial as soon as he is recovered.
“The group was relatively unsophisticated, penetrated early and not connected to any outside group,” said Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Police had been investigating the four men as suspects for a year before intersecting this planned attack. The defendants were put in jail Wednesday night.