A New York judge on Friday sentenced a young Algerian to 10 years in prison for conspiring to attack synagogues in the city, the Manhattan district attorney said, according to AFP.
Ahmed Ferhani, 28, is the first person convicted of terrorism under New York anti-terrorism laws that went into effect shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Ferhani had pleaded guilty in December to six terrorism charges related to the plot to attack synagogues, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance said.
He was arrested in May 2011 together with another individual, Mohamed Mamdouh, after being caught in a police undercover operation discussing plans to buy firearms and grenades with the aim of attacking the city's biggest synagogue.
Ferhani conspired between October 2010 and May 2011 "to bomb synagogues in Manhattan to send a message of violence to non-Muslims, including Americans, Christians, and Jews," the district attorney's office said, according to AFP.
"He told undercover detectives that he wanted to buy guns and grenades, and that grenades could be thrown two at a time into a synagogue. He also said he wanted to use grenades to blow up churches," it said.
After Ferhan’s arrest, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that “in addition to discussing the bombing of synagogues ‘one after another,’ Ferhani also expressed interest in bombing the Empire State Building.”
Kelly added that the two had discussed growing beards and curls to disguise themselves as Hasidic Jews. At one point Ferhani and Mamdouh had submitted a non-guilty plea to the terror plot.
Despite the proximity of the arrests to the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces, Kelly said that the plot began months before bin Laden was killed.
He noted that “We established no direct ties between them and Al-Qaeda or other operational terrorist groups,” and called the suspects “lone wolves.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)