NEW YORK CITY — An unemployed Queens actor who plotted to blow up synagogues and churches in Manhattan was sentenced to 10 years in state prison.
Ahmed Ferhani, 28, the first person convicted under New York state terror charges, pleaded guilty in December to hate crime, weapons possession and terrorism charges after he paid $100 for two guns, ammunition and a dummy grenade from an undercover cop.
Ferhani told investigators in May 2011 that he wanted to set off the grenade in the city’s largest synagogue, according to prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Although the North African immigrant did not specify the exact house of worship he planned to target, he told cops that he and co-conspirator, Mohamed Mamdouh, plotted to dress as Jewish worshipers, sneak into a service and leave a bag full of explosives. He also considered lobbing grenades, two at a time, into a synagogue to avenge Muslims killed overseas.
Ferhani told undercover investigators that he was also in the market for a bulletproof vest, silencer, police radio and a box of grenades for the “cause,” the DA charged. He promised to pay the balance for the weapons later, they said.
According to the Daily News, Ferhani said he wanted to simultaneously attack 10 houses of worship and "blow up all the motherf---ers at the same time."
Police describe him as a lone wolf terrorist with no ties to Al Qaeda or other international terror group and federal investigators declined to pursue the case.
But NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly insisted that Ferhani is a “dangerous man."
“Ferhani posed a real threat to New York’s Jewish community, eagerly purchasing a hand grenade, two guns, and 150 rounds of ammunition from an undercover officer as part of Ferhani’s stated intention to attack and then ‘blow up a synagogue in Manhattan, and take out the whole entire building,’” Kelly said.
At his sentencing, Ferhani, who was facing up to 25 years in prison before taking his plea, apologized for embarrassing his family and promised to spend his decade behind bars building his character and strengthening his mind, according to CBSnews.com.
The case against Mamdouh is still pending.