"Just in Time' for RNC Publicity:Two Brooklyn Men Charged In Plot To Blow Up Herald Square Subway Station

AUGUST 28TH, 2004
With police on high alert for terrorist activity, two men have been charged with planning to blow up the Herald Square subway station and other targets around the city.

On Friday, the NYPD and FBI arrested Pakistani national Shahawar Matin Siraj, 21, who lives in Jackson Heights, Queens and U.S. citizen James El Shafay, 19, who is from Staten Island.

The men are accused of plotting to plant explosives at the 34th Street and Sixth Avenue station, just blocks away from Madison Square Garden.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced the arrest Saturday. He says this wasn't their only target.

"They scouted out three police stations in Staten Island, a prison and the Verazano bridge, and they drew a map of the facilities," said Kelly. "In addition, they drew a map of the 34th Street train station. Last week on August 21st they visited that station and did a further reconnaissance."

The men are also scouting the 42nd Street and 59th Street Lexington Avenue stations.

Kelly says they did not have ties to al Qaida or any other terrorist organization.

Local authorities had been investigating the men for at least a year using a confidential informant.

The two apparently tried getting explosives into the Herald Square station, but did not succeed.

Kelly says the plot was not tied to the Republican Convention, but police decided to make the arrest as a preventative measure.

Both will be arraigned later Saturday.