New York, Jun 16 (AFP) Two men pleaded not guilty today to charges of plotting to blow up New York synagogues and churches, US officials said.
Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, were formally charged by the Manhattan district attorney with charges resulting from a "terror plot targeting New York synagogues."
"Between October 2010 and May 2011, Ferhani and Mamdouh conspired to bomb synagogues and churches in Manhattan to send a message of violence to non-Muslims, including Americans, Christians, and, primarily, Jews," the DA's office said in a statement.
Ferhani and Mamdouh respectively face six and five charges, of possessing weapons and terrorism charges. But the grand jury rejected a charge of conspiracy as a terror crime, which carried a maximum of life imprisonment.
Instead it was replaced with a lesser conspiracy charges which imposes jail terms of between 12 and a half years to 32 years.