New York Shul attackers planned missile launch

By Paul Berger, October 21, 2010

Four Muslim converts have been found guilty of attempting to blow up two New York synagogues and to shoot down military planes.

After eight days of deliberations, a New York jury this week returned
a verdict of guilty on all eight counts against James Cromitie, 44, and David Williams, 29. The charges included attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Onta Williams, 34, and Laguerre Payen, 29, were acquitted of attempting to kill officers and other employees of the United States. They were convicted on the remaining seven counts.

The men, three US citizens and one Haitian, face life in prison when they are sentenced in March.

They were caught in a sting operation led by a Pakistani-born government informant, Shahed Hussain.

Mr Hussain gave the men fake bombs, which they planted outside two Bronx synagogues. They also bought a fake stinger missile, which they intended to use against transport planes at an Air National Guard Base, just outside New York.

The men's attorneys had argued their clients were entrapped by Mr Hussain. Their lawyers said the men were incapable of carrying out such
a plot on their own.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said at the end of the trial: "Home-grown terrorism is a serious threat, and today's convictions affirm our commitment to do everything we can to protect against it."

Last updated: 4:12pm, October 21 2010