NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man accused of plotting to bomb a New York City synagogue says he is innocent, and blames his legal troubles on being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohammed Mamdouh, 20, were arrested Wednesday night for allegedly plotting to blow up area synagogues and possibly the Empire State Building.
But in an interview published by the New York Daily News Saturday, Mamdouh said he had, “nothing to do” with the reputed bombing plot by his co-defendant, Ferhani.
Authorities said Ferhani was the alleged mastermind of the plot to obtain weapons and attack synagogues and apparently recruited Mamdouh to the cause.
Police commissioner Ray Kelly said that Ferhani and Mamdouh were “motivated to a great extent by a pathological hatred of Jewish people.”
But Mamdough now says he had no problems with Jews or anyone else and just had the bad luck of being around when an undercover police officer overheard Ferhani talking about blowing up buildings.
“I never spoke about guns and blowing things up, either,” Mamdouh said. “That was him. It was all his idea. I had nothing to do with any of it.”
The arrest of the two men came on Wednesday evening as police surrounded a car occupied by Ferhani and an undercover detective.
The last thing Ferhani said before his arrest was that he wanted to buy more handguns, silencers, a box of hand grenades, bullet-resistant vests and police radios.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)