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Sat, Jun 02, 2007

Four Arrested Saturday in JFK Airport Terror Plot

Plans Focused On Fuel Line That Feeds JFK

According to media reports crdited to airport officials, four people were arrested in a plot, which never got past the planning stages, to set off explosives in a fuel line that feeds JFK and runs through adjacent neighborhoods.

The four were charged with conspiring to attack the airport by planting explosives to blow up the airport's major jet fuel tanks and pipeline, according to claims made by the Justice Department.

At a news conference, US Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf called it  "one of the most chilling plots imaginable."

"The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded is just unthinkable," she said.

Homeland Security sources said the airport is not under threat and that the attack, as planned, was "not technically feasible."

"There is no threat to air safety or the public related to this plot," FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said in Washington.

The planning, which began last summer, involved four men and targeted fuel tanks and pipelines at the airport, according to law enforcement sources. The pipeline in question takes fuel from a Linden, NJ, facility to the airport. Other lines service LaGuardia and Newark Airports.

The four defendants were identified as Russell Defreitas, a US citizen and native of Guyana who was arrested in Brooklyn. According to Reuters, he was a former airport employee, and described by their source as "a very angry Muslim extremist."

Officials added that two suspects were in custody in Trinidad and Tobago, and identified them as Abdul Kadir, a citizen of Guyana and former member of its parliament, and Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.
 
The fourth was named as Abdel Nur, described as a citizen of Guyana. Officials provided no other immediate information on Nur's whereabouts, but said Kadir and Nur were associates of Jamaat Al Muslimeen, which was behind a deadly coup attempt in Trinidad in 1990.

A wiretap transcript the FBI gave CNN indicated the plotters targeted the airport because of the popularity of its namesake.

"Any time you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow ... they love John F. Kennedy like he's the man ... if you hit that, this whole country will be mourning. You can kill the man twice," Defreitas said in a recorded conversation.

"Even the twin towers can't touch it," referring to the September 11 attacks in another comment that the law enforcement authorities said was recorded last month. "This can destroy the economy of America for some time."

Law enforcement authorities added that the investigation was helped by an informant, who recorded the conversations with the suspects.

The plot, which dated from January 2006 to the present, tapped into an international network of Muslim extremists from the US, Guyana and Trinidad.

Official claim that the suspects had conducted surveillance on the pipeline and JFK's giant jet fuel tanks; they had taken surveillance video of the targets and took it to Trinidad to review the tape.

The plot was revealed when the planners tried to recruit help from someone who was a law enforcement informant. Rep. Peter King, R-NY, said law enforcement had had the plot "under control" for some time.

"This was the ultimate hand-and-glove operation between NYPD and FBI," said King.

Another law enforcement official said the plot was never "fully operational."

The arrests mark the latest in a series of alleged homegrown terrorism plots targeting high-profile American landmarks.

FMI: www.fbi.gov, www.dhs.gov

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