Two arrested in alleged plot to attack New York synagogue

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A sting operation saw two men arrested in New York yesterday accused of plotting to attack a major synagogue, after they purchased three guns and a grenade from an undercover policeman.

The two alleged conspirators were Algerian-born Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Moroccan-born Mohammed Mamdouh, 20 – one a US citizen and the other a legal resident of the country. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that although they were not members of a wider terrorist organisation, they were Islamist extremists who were intent on murdering Jews.

He added that Ferhani had ambitions to attack the Empire State Building, and was motivated by the belief that Muslims around the world were being treated "like dogs". District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the head prosecutor in the case, said that Ferhani's plans "became bigger and more violent with every passing week." He added: "They did it for Jihad."

Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, said: "We are concerned about lone wolves acting against New York City in the wake of the killing of bin Laden."

In a separate incident, a man was arrested in Ireland yesterday over making threats to kill US President Barack Obama during his recent state visit to the Republic.