Two Pakistani-born brothers from Florida, who admitted plotting terror attacks on New York City landmarks, have been jailed for a total of 55 years.
A court heard how 22-year-old Raees Alam Qazi researched how to make bombs on the internet using everyday household items, such as Christmas tree lights and chemicals.
He and his older brother, 32-year-old Sheheryar Alam Qazi, did not get beyond the planning stage, but it was clear the would-be terrorists intended to operate as" lone wolfs" to cause widespread devastation.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom compared the plot to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother used pressure cookers to cause explosions that left three people dead and 260 injured.
Sentencing Raees Qazi to 35 years in prison, Judge Bloom told him: "You are a terrorist. Evil in nature and evil in your deeds. You chose to engage in conduct that can only be described as evil and reprehensible."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert said in December 2012 that Raees Qazi "fully intended to do this, and thankfully he didn't have enough money." She said he was seeking revenge for casualties in U.S. drone attacks, adding: "He wants to avenge those deaths and kill people."
Sheheryar Alam Qazi was given 20 years for providing his brother with the financial capability to plan the attacks.
"Your assistance allowed your brother to continue with his evil plan," the judge said, adding the FBI investigation and arrests "prevented what could have been a tragic loss of many lives".
The brothers responded to the judge with one-word answers, while Sheheryar Qazi spent the hearing writing on a yellow legal pad.
The two brothers, who lived in Broward County, Florida, were arrested in November 2012 after Raees Qazi returned from New York by bus following a target scouting mission and possibly an aborted attack, authorities said.
Raees Qazi tried to join Islamic extremists in 2011 in Afghanistan while visiting Pakistan, according to a statement signed by both brothers. When that failed, he chose to become a "lone wolf" who would plot ways of attacking the US from within.
He travelled to New York intending to get work to fund his terrorist plans, but ended up sleeping in public transportation, a mosque and in restaurants, and riding a bicycle around the city looking for potential targets.
Both brothers were described as avid followers of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical Muslim cleric who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in September 2011. They were also recorded in FBI wiretaps and listening devices expressing support for al-Qaeda and its former leader, Osama bin Laden, and took bomb-making tips from the terror group's Inspire magazine
Raees Qazi told a confidential FBI informant in one meeting that he had been in contact with al Qaeda operatives.
"The leaders know what they are talking about so when they call on Muslims in the West to stay in the West, there's a reason for that," a statement said.
The brothers also assaulted two deputy U.S. marshals while in custody as they were being escorted in the Miami court complex. The marshals suffered bruises and other injuries in the attack, during which the brothers yelled "Allahu Akbar," which is Arabic for "God is Great."
The federal judge imposed the maximum possible prison sentences, three years more than prosecutors recommended.