Huffpost New York

Terrorist Plot New York City: Two Men Arrested In Alleged Terror Plan To Target Synagogues With Grenades

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UPDATE: Two Americans, including one who complained the world was treating Muslims "like dogs," bought guns and a grenade and wanted to carry out a terror plot against a New York synagogue, officials said Thursday.

One of the men also expressed interest in bombing the Empire State Building, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Ahmed Ferhani, a 26-year-old of Algerian descent, and Mohamed Mamdouh, a 20-year-old of Moroccan descent, plotted to bomb a "major synagogue" in Manhattan and bought several weapons and an inert hand grenade from an undercover officer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Officials said they had been watching Ferhani for several months and that he had said he was fed up with the way Muslims were treated around the world. He's the one who expressed interest in the Empire State Building attack, Kelly said.

"They're treating us like dogs," Ferhani said once, according to Kelly.

Ferhani showed a pattern of growing anger, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.

"His plans became bigger and more violent with every passing week," Vance said.

The men were charged under state terror laws.

New York City police have been on high alert for potential threats to the city since the U.S. raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden over a week ago, though Kelly said the men had no apparent link to al-Qaida.

"We are concerned about lone wolves acting against New York city in the wake of the killing of bin Laden," Bloomberg said. "Those perhaps are the toughest to stop."

EARLIER: Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says one of the suspects also expressed interest in bombing the Empire State Building.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the two suspects plotted to bomb a "major synagogue" in Manhattan and bought several weapons and a hand grenade from an undercover officer.

The men were charged under state terror laws. They are Americans of Algerian and Moroccan descent.

Two law enforcement officials confirmed the arrests. One of the officials said the FBI was consulted about the case and declined to pursue it.

The three people weren't authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

New York City police have been on high alert for threats to the city since the U.S. raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden over a week ago.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the suspects have no known connection to al-Qaida.

Terror suspects are traditionally prosecuted by federal authorities. New York passed its own anti-terrorism law within six days of the Sept. 11 attacks, and lawmakers at the time said they thought it may never be used.

The law states that a person can be found guilty of terrorism when he or she commits a crime with the goal of intimidating or coercing civilians, influencing government policy or affecting the conduct of a government. The statute also increases the penalty of crimes if the suspect is also found guilty of making terrorist threats or committing terrorist acts.

Four men were arrested in 2009 on charges they plotted to blow up synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes at an air base upstate.

A federal jury in Manhattan convicted the men last year. Defense lawyers claimed the four never would have engaged in such plans without being pushed into it by the FBI's undercover informant. Judge Colleen McMahon scolded the government, suggesting the case bordered on entrapment, but upheld the convictions.