An ageing former cargo handler was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for hatching a plot to make John F. Kennedy International Airport go "up in smoke" by attacking jet fuel supplies with the help of a notorious al-Qaeda explosives expert.

Russell Defreitas and another man had been convicted last year of multiple conspiracy counts in a failed scheme that was infiltrated by a government informant.

At trial, jurors heard tapes recorded by the informant in which Defreitas, 67, ranted about wanting to avenge US mistreatment of Muslims across the globe. Defreitas was among four men charged in the plot.

Co-defendant Abdel Kadir, an engineer and former member of Guyana's parliament, was sentenced in December to life in prison; Abdel Nur was sentenced to 15 years in prison; and Kareem Ibrahim is awaiting trial.