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Four held for plotting terror attacks

Four men are expected to appear in a US federal court Thursday to face charges linked with planning attacks against a Jewish synagogue and US warplanes based at a New York military base, prosecutors said.

world Updated: May 22, 2009 00:33 IST

Four men are expected to appear in a US federal court Thursday to face charges linked with planning attacks against a Jewish synagogue and US warplanes based at a New York military base, prosecutors said.

The group, residing in New York, where al Qaeda extremists with hijacked commercial airliners destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, were arrested on Wednesday on charges of plotting to detonate explosives near a synagogue in the Bronx borough of New York, according to court documents.

The men, who according to a US congressman were all born in the US, also “planned to shoot down military planes located at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York, with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles,” officials said.

The suspects — identified as James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen — were all residents of Newburgh and had been tracked for over a year, officials said.

They were set to appear in federal court in White Plains, New York on Thursday. The charges hold a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Three of the men were of Arabic descent and one of Haitian descent, according to New York Governor David Paterson. New York Representative Peter King said the men were Muslim and that some had converted to Islam in prison.