Bronx Terror Target Synagogues To Get Fed Funds

| July 19, 2010

A New York congressman says two Bronx synagogues targeted in a terror plot will receive federal funds to help prevent future terrorist attempts.

Rep. Anthony Weiner said Sunday that the two sites were among 80 high-risk groups receiving Homeland Security Department money. They will share more than $5.8 million. Weiner says the average award will be $73,000.

The funds will be used by the groups to add security cameras, barricades and emergency release doors to their buildings. The funds are expected to be dispersed in the next three months.

The Riverdale Jewish Center and the Riverdale Temple were targets of the failed bomb plot in May 2009.

Security was extra tight around the White Plains federal court house on June 14 for the Bronx terror trial jury selection, with police manning the roof, setting up barricades and limiting traffic flow.

Asked if she was glad they were putting up security, resident Dora Turner said, "Yes, very glad."

"If it's necessary well have to live with it. It is what it is and we'll live with it," said Frank Pugliese."

The case against the four men in the homegrown terror plot arose from a middle-of the-night sting in the Bronx a little more than a year ago. The government said the defendants, defendants, James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and LaGuerre Payen, had spewed their hate against America and Jews before allegedly agreeing with an undercover government informant to attack two Riverdale synagogues and military planes at the upstate National Guard base at Stewart Airport.

The four were described as jailhouse jihadists who converted to Islam in prison and took up the mantle of jihad. "They made the statement that if Jews were killed in this attack, that would be alright," said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

The defendants were allegedly found with fake explosives and a phony stinger missile on the night of the sting.

"It's frightening. It makes you feel vulnerable," said Bobbi Siegelbaum.

"I can't believe it happened here. It's Riverdale," said Josh Blechner.

Outside the courthouse, friends and family of the defendants gathered to say this was a case of entrapment. "It's not a situation where these men had this in their minds to do. I don't believe that. I believe that they were encouraged to do it," said Salahuddin Muhammad of the Islamic Learning Center of Orange County.

Prosecutors said they had more than 100 hours of video and audio recordings to prove their case.

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security