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Officials: 2 men plotted attack on NYC synagogue

Posted: May 12, 2011 - 6:13pm

NEW YORK — Two Americans, including one who complained that 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 alleged homegrown terrorists arrested in a sting operation 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 using an undercover detective wearing a wire to track Ferhani for several months, and that he had said he was fed up with the way Muslims were treated around the world and hated Jews. 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.

According to a criminal complaint drafted under state terror laws, the undercover officer had several meetings with the men where Ferhani discussed the idea of attacking a synagogue. Mamdouh emphasized the need for proper training, the complaint said, so they would not get caught like “the one that put the car in Times Square” — a reference to the failed bombing last year by Faisal Shahzad.

Ferhani suggested disguising himself as a worshipping Jew to infiltrate a synagogue and leaving a bomb inside, the complaint said.

On May 5, the undercover officer introduced the men to another officer pretending to be an illegal gun dealer at a meeting where Ferhani stated he needed the weapons “for the cause,” the complaint said.

“We gonna be victorious,” it quoted Ferhani as saying.

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