New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly described Thursday how the NYPD investigated and arrested two men week who allegedly plotted to blow up a Manhattan Synagogue.
Kelly said in his Thursday press conference that Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh, both residents of Queens, were arrested on Wednesday evening on conspiracy, weapons, and hate crimes charges, following a seven-month long undercover operation. Just before his arrest, Kelly said, Fehrani explained that he was “fed up with the way Muslims were being treated around the world. They are treating us like dogs.”
Police say Fehrani purchased two semi-automatic pistols and a handgun, as well as ammunition and a hand grenade from an undercover officer.
Fehrani allegedly expressed his hope to obtain more guns, silencers, a box of hand grenades, bulletproof vests and police radios. He allegedly conversed with Mamdouh about his plans to blow up multiple synagogues, “one after another,” as well as the Empire State Building.
According to investigators, Fehrani told an undercover FBI informant: “We will blow up a synagogue in Manhattan and take out the entire building.” The same day, Mamdouh allegedly said “I hate Jews,” and Fehrani reportedly replied: “I want to kill them.” They also reportedly discussed growing beards and pais to disguise themselves as Hasidic Jews. They did not specify which synagogue they allegedly intended to bomb.
Fehrani, who is 26, is a native of Algeria. Mamdouh is 20, from Casablanca, Morocco and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Kelly said that there was no indication that the two suspects had direct ties to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. “Ferhani and Mamdouh were lone wolves,” he said.