Updated 05/23/2009 12:24 PM
City Honors First Responders Of Botched Terror Plot
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A Bronx Jewish community celebrated Saturday morning services in their Riverdale synagogue, after the first responders who foiled an alleged plot to blow up the temple were honored in City Hall the previous night.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Paterson on Friday honored dozens of city, state, and federal officials.
Bloomberg said the cooperation of several agencies, working with the NYPD's Anti-Terrorism Task Force, helped lead to the arrest.
"We know we live in a very dangerous world but, thankfully, we have an excellent system of defense to protect us and in the first line of those defenses are our superb law enforcement officers, including those we've honored today," said Bloomberg.
"So much of a more pleasant occasion when these great officers from the different areas of law enforcement get to smell the roses and have our great, great appreciation confirmed to them and they're here, and they're safe and they kept us all safe," said Paterson.
Meanwhile, community leaders of all faiths came together Friday morning for an interfaith gathering in the Bronx to condemn the recently foiled bomb plot against two synagogues.
The solidarity gathering was held at the Riverdale Jewish Center and focused on condemning hatred toward all faiths. They also thanked city, state and federal law enforcement officials for the major part they played in preventing the attack.
The four men accused in the plot -- James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and LaGuerre Payen -- are due back in court next month after appearing in federal court Thursday.
None of the men entered a plea or sought bail.
They were arrested Wednesday night after authorities say they planted what turned out to be phony explosives supplied by an FBI informant outside a synagogue and a nearby Jewish Center in Riverdale.
Authorities say the men also planned to use guided missiles to shoot down military planes at the New York Air National Guard base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder described the men as extremely violent, saying they were disappointed the World Trade Center wasn't around any more to attack, and that they were "eager to bring death to Jews."
The arrests came after a year-long investigation by the FBI, NYPD and state police.
Officials say the men are not connected to any outside organization, but were upset about U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"They seem to be what I would call low level or petty criminals. But they are motivated by hate," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "They said they wanted to do jihad. The main individual here, James Cromitie said that he hated jews, he was upset by what was happening in Afghanistan and Iraq, he didn't mind if Americans were killed."
All four men are charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.
They face up to life in prison if convicted.