New York, May22 (ANI): The four men arrested for planting what they thought were explosives near two New York City synagogues have revealed that they were disappointed that the World Trade Center wasn't still around to attack, a federal prosecutor said Thursday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said the defendants were "eager to bring death to Jews."
They were "disappointed...that the best target (the World Trade Center) was hit already," he said, adding that the men were "eager to bring death to Jews."
The suspects were arrested Wednesday night, shortly after planting a 37-pound mock explosive device in the trunk of a car outside the Riverdale Temple and two mock bombs in the backseat of a car outside the Riverdale Jewish Center, another synagogue a few blocks away, the authorities said.
Police blocked their escape with an 18-wheel truck, smashing their tinted Sport Utility Vehicle windows and apprehending the unarmed suspects.
Authorities said the men also plotted to shoot down a military plane.
James Cromitie, 55; David Williams, 28; Onta Williams, 32; and Laguerre Payen, all of Newburgh, were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.
All the suspects except Payen appeared in federal court in White Plains on Thursday, their hands shackled to their waists, preventing them from raising their hands while swearing to tell the truth.
Earlier, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly spoke at a news conference outside the Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx.
"They stated that they wanted to commit jihad. They were disturbed about what happened in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that Muslims were being killed," The Telegraph and CBS quoted Kelly, as saying.
Kelly said he believed the men knew each other through prison. They had long rap sheets for charges, including drug possession and assault.
Acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin said the defendants planned to shoot Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles at planes at the Air National Guard base in Newburgh, about 70 miles north of New York City.
The FBI and other agencies monitored the men and provided an inactive missile and inert C-4 to an informant for the defendants.
The arrests came after a nearly yearlong undercover operation that began in Newburgh. (ANI)