Two Queens men were arrested last night on terror charges, but as of now, the details of the case are sketchy. The men, who are “homegrown” Americans of North African descent, according to various reports, were busted in a sting operation when trying to buy “guns and grenades,” according to NBC New York, after they “allegedly made threatening statements about wanting to attack the city.” The Post hears that one of the men “talked about attacking a synagogue,” and that the plan had been in motion before the death of Osama bin Laden.
In an interesting twist, this case, unlike most involving terrorism, was not investigated by the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force but instead by the district attorney’s office, and the Queens men will be charged under state terrorism laws and not federal terrorism laws. According to the Daily News, “Investigators with the Joint Terrorism Task Force declined to prosecute the case, saying the plan was more aspirational than operational.” The DA’s office, apparently, was a bit more concerned. We’ll learn more when the charges are announced later today.
Manhattan DA expected to announce arrest of two men targeting NYC for terrorist attack: sources [NYDN]
After Threats, 2 Arrested in Sting Operation Trying to Buy Guns, Grenades [NBC New York]
Two Men Arrested in New York Terror Case [NYT]
Queens man in terror bust [NYP]
Update: The two men, both American citizens, are 26-year-old, Algerian-born Ahmed Ferhani, and 20-year-old, Moroccan-born Mohammed Mamdouh. They had “bought three pistols, ammunition and an inert grenade after a seven-month sting operation,” with the intention to attack an unnamed Manhattan synagogue. Their reason? Muslims are being treated “like dogs,” one of the suspects told an undercover agent. [Reuters, MyFoxNY]