Undercover New York City police officers foiled a plot by two potential terrorists from Queens who wanted to blow up city synagogues, and even attack the Empire State building, police revealed yesterday.
Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh were arrested at 6 p.m. Wednesday after Ferhani bought three guns and a hand grenade from an undercover police officer.
Ferhani was arrested in his car on 58th Street near 12th Avenue, according to police. Mamdouh was picked up moments later on the street corner of 57th Street and Ninth Avenue.
Ferhani, a 26-year-old Algerian native who lives in Queens, and Mamdouh, a 20-year-old Moroccan native who also lives in Queens, wanted to use the weapons to attack unspecified synagogues in the city, said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Ferhani even expressed interest in bombing the Empire State Building, said Kelly — all in the name of jihad.
“Ferhani said, ‘We will blow up synagogues ... one after another … in Manhattan,’” said Kelly. “He said he was ‘fed up with the way Muslims were being treated around the world. They’re treating us like dogs.’”
While the entire nation is on high alert for retaliatory attacks after the death of Osama bin Laden, Kelly said the NYPD has been monitoring the two men since before October of last year.
The two are believed to be lone wolves, said officials, with no known ties to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.
In order to sneak into a synagogue, Ferhani discussed growing a beard and wearing a payis, or curls, to disguise himself as a Hasidic Jew. “He was prepared to die for jihad,” said Kelly. The two men had not chosen which synagogues to attack, he said.