This afternoon Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a press conference to announce the arrest of two suspects accused of plotting to bomb a major synagogue in Manhattan. Michael Miller and David Pollock of the JCRC were invited and attended. Watch the video of the press conference in low or high bandwidth.
Mayor Bloomberg explained in his opening remarks:
“Yesterday, detectives from the NYPD arrested two men who said they wanted to destroy a major synagogue in Manhattan, and then purchased several weapons and a hand grenade from an undercover officer.Read Mayor Bloomberg's full remarks here.
“Fortunately, long before their aspirations could take hold, New York City police officers were watching them and were in a position to take them into custody, before they could maim and murder innocent New Yorkers.
Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, are charged with multiple felony counts and hate crimes carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. In the course of the investigation Mr. Ferhani expressed clear anti-Semitism and asked an undercover officer whether he would join him in a plan to bomb a synagogue.
Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, Jr., noted:
"The defendants plotted and took concrete steps to bomb synagogues and kill Jewish New Y orkers as an act of terrorism"
Read DA Vance's statement here. Read the full criminal complaint providing more details here.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly described the police activities leading to the arrests and commended NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence David Cohen and his team for their outstanding work. He also commented that:
"While there are no specific plots targeting New York City in the wake of Bin Laden's death, this latest case reminds us that we must remain vigilant every day.Read Commissioner Kelly's account of the investigation here.
When the news of the arrests broke this morning the JCRC called for heightened vigilance and tighter access policies in a security alert to synagogues, yeshivot and other Jewish institutions. Read the recommendations here.
Organizations wishing to apply for Nonprofit Security Grants will find more information at www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants and can reserve for the JCRC May 23rd Grants Webinar here. Find guidance and practical suggestions on how to increase the security of your Jewish institution at: www.jcrcny.org/securityresources.