The suspects were identified as 20-year-old Mohammad Mamdouh and 26-year-old Ahmed Ferhani, both of Queens, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
The stunning arrests come as local law enforcement remain on high alert, weary about a possible terror attack in retaliation for the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden last week.
According to Kelly, the men purchased several guns and a hand grenade from an undercover police officer with the intent of bombing a major New York City synagogue. One suspect also allegedly talked about bombing the Empire State Building.
Officials say the men were apparently disgruntled over how the world treated Muslims.
"They're treating us like dogs," Ferhani, an Elmhurst resident, allegedly said during a conversation that was wiretapped by authorities, Kelly said.
Although the men stated their intent, officials say no specific synagogue was targeted as the plot was still in its preliminary stages.
Ferhani and Mamdouh, both American of Algerian and Moroccan respectively, were arraigned late Thursday on charges of conspiracy as a crime of terrorism and conspiracy as a hate crime, as well as criminal possession of weapon.
The NYPD acting alone in the case, as the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI has declined to join in, officials said. That may be an indication that the plot hatched by the two suspects was not developed strongly enough to be tried in federal court...