Other foiled NYC terror plots since 9/11

An SUV was found in New York's Times Square filled with gasoline, propane and wires. It smoked but did not detonate.

Last Updated 10:28 a.m. ET

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a news conference Sunday the arrest of Jose Pimentel of Manhattan, "a 27-year-old al Qaeda sympathizer" who the mayor said was motivated by terrorist propaganda and resentment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pimental is accused of plotting to bomb police and post offices in New York City as well as U.S. troops returning home.

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Bloomberg said at least 13 terrorist plots have targeted the city since the Sept. 11 attacks. None has succeeded.

Among the previous plans that have been foiled by law enforcement:


Brooklyn Bridge targeted: Columbus, Ohio resident Iyman Faris admitted to scouting locations for an al Qaeda attack on locations in New York, and planned to helped destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. Faris, a native of Kashmir who became a U.S. citizen in 1999, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


Pakistani diplomat assassination threat: Kurdish refugee Yassin Muhiddin Aref and Mohammed Mosharref Hossain, co-founder of an Albany, N.Y. mosque, were arrested for money laundering in support of terrorism. They were captured in an FBI sting operation in which an informant promised to provide a shoulder-fired missile with which to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat at that country's consulate in New York City. Aref and Hossain were sentenced to 15 years in prison, despite protests that they were framed by an FBI informant who arranged the fabricated purchase of the RPG-7 grenade launcher and the assassination scheme. The informant, a convicted felon, was secretly cooperating with federal prosecutors to reduce his own prison sentence on document fraud charges

Subway station bomb plot: Shahawar Matin Siraj was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his part in a plot to bomb a N.Y.C. subway station the day before the 2004 Republican National Convention was to open, as revenge for wartime abuses of Iraqis. There was no proof he ever obtained explosives and was not linked to any terror organization. A friend of Siraj, James Elshafay, pled guilty and testified against his friend; the court released him.

Siraj claimed he was entrapped and manipulated by a paid police informant who inflamed him with photos of inmates being abused at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The informant, Osama Eldawoody, was a naturalized citizen from Egypt who was recruited by an NYPD detective after 9/11 to help the department's counter-terrorism efforts.

Eldawoody told CBS News he was assigned to visit mosques in Staten Island and Brooklyn, take down license plates in the parking lot, and keep his eyes and ears open for talk of jihad or holy war. Eldawoody denied that he trapped Siraj: "No kind of entrapment whatsoever. The opposite is right: He was the one who was pushing me," Eldawoody told CBS News.

Financial targets: In August 2004 seven men were arrested in a plot to destroy the New York Stock Exchange and Citicorp headquarters, among other financial landmarks in the U.S. and London. Dhiren Barot, the group's leader who was described by Britain's top anti-terrorist detective as "a long-term, dedicated, committed member of al Qaeda," was sentenced to 30 years in prison.


Hudson River tunnels: There men were arrested for allegedly plotting to destroy the PATH train tunnels in New York City in order to flood the city's financial district. FBI Assistant Director Mark J. Mershon called the plot the "real deal" involving "martyrdom and explosives."

The plot's leader, Lebanese national Assem Hammoud, was arrested in Beirut but was released on bail in 2008. He denied the charges in an interview with Al Arabiya TV.

Blowing up commercial airliners: In August 2006 U.K. law enforcement arrested 25 suspects in a plot to use liquid explosives to destroy several commercial airliners bound for the United States and Canada.

The ringleader, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, was convicted and jailed for a minimum of 40 years. Three British Muslims - Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain - were found guilty of conspiracy to murder by detonating explosives on aircraft while they were in flight. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Jurors found Umar Islam guilty of conspiracy to murder. Three other defendants - Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zaman - not guilty of planning to blow up airliners, and did not reach verdicts on whether the three were guilty of conspiracy to murder. All four had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.

One man, Donald Stewart-Whyte, was cleared of all charges.


JFK Airport attack: In June 2007 four men - Russell Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim, Abdul Kadir and Abdel Nur - were indicted for plotting to blow up jet fuel tanks at John F. Kennedy International Airport to avenge perceived U.S. oppression of Muslims around the world.

The government's case relied heavily on tapes - secretly recorded by a government informant, convicted drug dealer Steven Francis - of Defreitas bragging about his knowledge of Kennedy Airport and its vulnerabilities.

Defreitas and Kadir, an engineer and former member of Guyana's parliament, were sentenced to life in prison. Abdel Nur was sentenced to 15 years; Kareem Ibrahim was also found guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at and