Wednesday, April 24 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, April 24 2013

Alleged terror plot in Canada backed by al Qaeda

RCMP officers have arrested two people in connection with an alleged al-Qaeda-backed terror plot to derail a passenger train running on a Via Rail track.

Assistant RCMP Commissioner James Malizia said the plot was supported by “al Qaeda elements located in Iran” in the form of “direction and guidance,” but added there “is no information to indicate that these attacks were state-sponsored.”

Al Qaeda is linked to Sunni extremists, while Iran is predominately Shia.

CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reported earlier Monday that the Amtrak train the suspects were targeting would have been travelling on a track linking New York and Toronto, and the attack would have occurred on the Canadian side of the border. The RCMP would not confirm the targeted train’s route.

Police identified the suspects as Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, a resident of Montreal and Raed Jaser, 35, a resident of Toronto. They were arrested Monday morning and are facing terror-related criminal charges including conspiracy to carry out an attack against, conspiring to interfere with transportation facilities and murdering persons for the benefit of a terrorist group.

Assistant RCMP Commissioner James Malizia, the officer in charge of federal policing operations, said neither of the accused is a Canadian citizen. One suspect is originally from Tunisia, while the other is from the United Arab Emirates.

“Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or seriously injured,” Malizia told reporters Monday afternoon at a news conference in Toronto. (Source: CTV News)