New York City Synagogues Terror Plot Foiled (May 2009)
The Plan: Four Muslim men were accused of plotting to blow up two synagogues in the Bronx, New York (the Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Center). They also planned on shooting down U.S. Military planes at a New York Air National Guard base.
How It Was Thwarted: A paid informant helped the FBI catch the men. Shahed Hussain met with the would-be attackers at a mosque in Newburgh, New York, posing as a terror operative. When the group planted what they believed were explosives near the Jewish Center and the Temple in May of 2009, they were apprehended by the NYPD. The explosives and missiles that they believed were real, were actually fakes supplied with the help of the FBI's informant.
The Outcome: All four men, including the ringleader, James Cromitie, were convicted and sentenced to 25 years behind bars.
Times Square Bomb Plot Thwarted (May 2010)
The Plan: Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, was planning to detonate a bomb hidden inside a Nissan Pathfinder in New York City's Times Square. Shahzad also reportedly planned additional attacks on other Manhattan targets, including Grand Central Station and Rockefeller Center.
How It Was Thwarted: Two alert street vendors are credited with disrupting Shahzad's potentially deadly plan. On the evening of May 1, 2010, the vendors noticed smoke coming from a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder that was parked in Times Square (the engine was running and the SUV's hazard lights were on) at the busy intersection of West 45th Street and Broadway. They quickly alerted a nearby NYPD officer who saw canisters inside the SUV and smelled what he thought was gunpowder. The area was evacuated, a bomb squad was called in and the attack was successfully thwarted.
Within days, a Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the FBI, took over the investigation and zeroed in on Faisal Shahzad. He was arrested at JFK Airport in New York on May 3, 2010.
The Outcome: Faisal Shahzad was convicted in October of 2010, and sentenced to life in prison without parole. In addition, Pakistan also arrested several suspects in the case, as Faisal was believed to have had help with his planned attack from Pakistani militants.
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