Terrorist Plot in New York against Synagogues

Four New York residents have been arrested for an alleged plot to attack two synagogues in the Bronx and to shoot down planes at a military base in Newburgh, New York.

The men, who were fuelled by their hatred of America and the Jews, reportedly began surveillance of several synagogues and a Jewish Community Center in the Bronx in April. The plot is one of several terrorist plots in the U.S. in recent years motivated by anti-Semitism and radical interpretations of Islam.

Several terrorist plots in New York were also motivated by a hatred of Jews or Israel.  These include:

  • A group of men plotted to attack New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in 2007, in part because they wanted to take revenge on the U.S. for its diplomatic relationship with Israel.
  • James Elshafay and Shawar Matin Siraj plotted to bomb New York’s Herald Square subway station in 2004 to show solidarity with the Palestinians because of their hatred of the “Zionists.”
  • In July 1997, Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer plotted to blow up a subway station in Brooklyn in order to “kill as many Jews as possible.”  He testified that he chose the Atlantic Avenue station as a target because there are “a lot of Jews who ride that train.”
  • Ali Abu Kamal, a Palestinian man who went on a shooting spree atop the Empire State Building in 1997, carried a note in his pocket indicating the attack was meant to vent his anger at the U.S. for using Israel as an “instrument” against the Palestinian people.
  • In 1993, five Islamic extremists detonated a car bomb below Tower One of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing 6 people and wounding more than 1,000 others. Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the attack, first planned to bomb Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but settled on the World Trade Center because “the majority of people who work in the World Trade Center are Jews,” according to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a co-conspirator in the attack.
  • Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian cleric and alleged leader of the terrorist group Gama’a al-Islamiyya, plotted to bomb five major landmarks in New York in 1993, including the United Nations Headquarters, the Lincoln Tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, the George Washington Bridge and the FBI office in New York.  In addition, he plotted to attack New York’s diamond district, an area largely populated by Jews, which according to one of his co-defendants would be like “hitting Israel itself.”
  • In 1973, Khalid Al-Jawary plotted to blow up cars parked out of three Israeli targets in Manhattan to coincide with a scheduled visit to New York by then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.  The targets included El Al air terminal at John F. Kennedy International airport, the First Israel Bank and Trust Company, and the Israel Discount Bank in New York City.

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