Two New Jersey men arrested at JFK last June on their way to the Middle East pleaded guilty to charges that they tried to join an al-Qaida-affiliated group.
Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte were as they were taking separate flights to Egypt on their way to Somalia, to join the terrorist group al-Shabab. They have admitted to conspiring to kill, maim and kidnap people outside the U.S.
The two men had been under FBI surveillance since 2006, when an undercover New York City police officer befriended them and secretly recorded conversations about the men's plan to kill non-Muslims.
Investigators caught the men on tape discussing how they would prepare -- saving thousands of dollars, physically conditioning themselves by weight-lifting and paintball gun exercises, and acquiring night-vision goggles and other equipment
Alessa was born in the U.S. to a Palestinian immigrant family, while Almonte is a naturalized citizen born in the Dominican Republic. The two will be sentenced in June. Both are facing up to life in prison.