This week, authorities announced they had arrested two men in connection with an anti-Semitic terrorist plot; Moroccan Mohammad Mamdouh and Algerian Ahmed Serhani, who both lived in Queens, allegedly planned to sell drugs in order to make money to buy grenades and explosives, dress up as Hasidic Jews, and plant a bomb at a Manhattan synagogue. But in a Rikers Island interview with the News, Mamdouh got choked up, and denied he had anything to do with the plot: "[Ferhani] was the one who was talking about all the weapons and everything else. I never spoke about guns and blowing things up, either. That was him. It was all his idea. I had nothing to do with any of it."
Mahmoud, who has a prior criminal record for burglary, allegedly said to undercover cops "I hate Jews." But he told the News that he "was at the wrong place at the wrong time...I don't have problems with anyone - not Jews, not anyone." He argued that he and Ferhani were only acquaintances, not friends, who occasionally hung out and drank (and according to one neighbor, smoked pot). Mahmoud said that Ferhani "has anger issues. He gets mad and says things," but also added, "At the bottom of my heart, I swear I don't think he would kill anyone either. I don't think he has the b----."
Mahmoud, 20, said all the problems began after he and Ferhani watched the documentary The Ultra Zionists with a third man...who later turned out to be an undercover cop. "I was drunk. We had a conversation after the movie was over...It was just a conversation. It was not serious." A neighbor said yesterday that the two men were "too stupid" to be terrorists.
The "lone wolf" perps, who are charged with terrorism and hate-crime conspiracy, were caught after giving undercover cops $100 down payment for three handguns, ammunition and a grenade for the attacks. Police say they tracked the two men for several months before they were busted on Wednesday. Below, you can see a video of the bust on 58th St. near the West Side Highway: