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Judge Rules NYC Synagogue Bomb Plot Case Can Move Forward

Ahmed Ferhani stands before a judge during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court May 12, 2011. (credit:Louis Lanzano-Pool/Getty Images)

Ahmed Ferhani stands before a judge during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court May 12, 2011. (credit:Louis Lanzano-Pool/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A judge has declined to throw out an unusual state-level terror case against a man charged with plotting to blow up synagogues in New York City.

WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman On The Case

The ruling came Monday in Ahmed Ferhani’s case.

His lawyers said the prosecution is based on insufficient evidence and dubious police tactics that targeted a mentally unstable man.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said Ferhani was intent on attacking a synagogue and bought three guns and a grenade to do so. The buy was a sting.

Prosecutors said the 27-year-old and another man, Mohamed Mamdouh, planned to dress as Hasidic jews and go on a killing spree in synagogues.

Ferhani and Mamdouh were arrested on May 11, 2011 on charges they wanted to strike a synagogue to avenge mistreatment of Muslims around the world, authorities said.

An undercover officer who investigated them reported that Ferhani wanted to become a martyr, and wiretap recordings caught the men calling Jews “rats” and other names.

Authorities said Ferhani, 26, was nabbed in a sting buying guns, ammunition and an inert hand grenade on a Manhattan block. Mamdouh, a 20-year-old American citizen of Moroccan descent, was picked up a few blocks away.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

A grand jury declined to indict them on a top-level terror conspiracy charge. They still face other terror and hate crime charges that carry up to 32 years in prison.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)