Four arrested in plot to bomb infrastructure at JFK International Airport, New York City

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The TWA flight building at JFK

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has reported that four arrests have been made in a foiled plot to blow up jet-fuel supply tanks and pipeline at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), in New York City. The DOJ suggested the plot was interrupted in the early planning stages through cooperative law enforcement work in the United States and abroad.

The four arrested were identified by the DOJ in a press release Saturday as Russell Defreitas, a U.S. citizen and native of Guyana, Abdul Kadir, a citizen of Guyana and past member of the Guyanese Parliament, Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad, and Abdel Nur, also a citizen of Guyana.

Defreitas, a former employee of JFK was arrested in Brooklyn, New York. Kadir and Ibrahim were arrested in Trinidad. It was not made clear where Nur was arrested, however the DOJ indicated that the U.S. will initiate extradition proceedings for the three.

The DOJ alleged that the four began the planning in January, 2006 through to the present. It was revealed that law enforcement officials believed the targets included buildings, fuel tanks, and fuel pipelines at JFK, which were to be destroyed with explosives. The primary pipeline target was the Buckeye Pipeline, which distributes fuel to depots as far away as Pennsylvania. It also serves New Jersey and various boroughs of New York.

It was alleged by the DOJ that the plotters "tapped into an international network of Muslim extremists from the United States, Guyana, and Trinidad, and utilized the knowledge, expertise, and contacts of the conspirators to develop and plan the plot, and obtain operational support and capability to carry it out."

Defreitas traveled from Guyana to JFK to allegedly conduct surveillance of the airport on four occasions in January 2007. According to the DOJ press release, the four plotters "obtained satellite photographs of JFK airport and its facilities from the Internet and traveled frequently between the United States, Guyana, and Trinidad to discuss their plans and solicit the financial and technical assistance of others."

U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York Roslynn Mauskopf described the scenario as "one of the most chilling plots imaginable." She went on to say at a news conference in New York that "the devastation that would be caused...is just unthinkable."

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