PLOT TO BLOW UP U.S. JETS AND JEWS; MUSLIMS SEIZED IN FBI STING AFTER PLANTING 'BOMBS' AT SYNAGOGUES; Suspect on Tape: 'Best Target (Twin Towers) Is Hit Already'

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Byline: Robert Mendick Chief Reporter

FOUR Muslims have been arrested over a plot to shoot down US military aircraft and simultaneously blow up two synagogues in New York.

US authorities swooped on the gang after they planted what they believed to be high-explosive bombs in cars outside the Jewish centres.

In fact the bombs were fakes, provided by the FBI in a sting operation. A Stinger surface-to-air missile intended to bring down military jets was also inactive. The group identified the synagogues as targets last month and began conducting surveillance, including taking photographs of warplanes at the US airbase.

The men, who face life in prison, will appear in court today charged with offences including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.

Sources described the charges as "some of the most significant allegations of domestic terrorism" for some time.

It was suggested today some of the gang may have converted to Islam after spells in prison for drug offences. The alleged plotters were named today as James Cromitie (also known as Abdul Rahman), David Williams (aka Daoud and DL), Onta Williams (aka Hamza) and Laguerre Payen (aka Amin and Almondo). They are all thought to have been born in the US.

Cromitie, the apparent ringleader, told an FBI informant he was upset by the war in Afghanistan, where his parents were born, and wanted to "do something to America".

He was caught on tape complaining that the "best target [the World Trade Center] was hit already".

In the same conversation Cromitie, who has been arrested 27 times, said: "I hate those motherf*** ers, those f*** ing Jewish bastards . …