Saturday, June 03, 2006

Canada Nabs 17 Terror Suspects in Toronto.


Canadian police foiled a homegrown terrorist attack by arresting 17 suspects, apparently inspired by al-Qaida, who obtained three times the amount of explosives used in the Oklahoma City bombing, officials said Saturday.

The FBI said the Canadian suspects may have had "limited contact" with two men recently arrested on terrorism charges in Georgia. About 400 regional police and federal agents participated in the arrests Friday and early Saturday.
"These individuals were allegedly intent on committing acts of terrorism against their own country and their own people," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. "As we have said on many occasions, Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism."


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested the suspects, ages 43 to 19, on terrorism charges including plotting attacks with explosives on Canadian targets. The suspects were either citizens or residents of Canada and had trained together, police said.

The group had taken steps to acquire three tons of ammonium nitrate and other bomb-making materials — three times the amount used to blow up the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injured more than 800, said assistant Royal Canadian Mounted Police commissioner Mike McDonell.
"This group posed a real and serious threat," McDonell said. "It had the capacity and intent to carry out these attacks."


Luc Portelance, assistant director of operations with Canada's spy agency, CSIS, said the suspects "appeared to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by al-Qaida" but that investigators have yet to prove a link to the terror network.
Five of the suspects were led in handcuffs Saturday to the Ontario Court of Justice, which was surrounded by snipers and bomb-sniffing dogs. A judge told the men not to communicate with one another and set their first bail hearing for Tuesday.


Tight security required visitors to the court to remove their shoes to pass through three checkpoints guarded by police carrying assault rifles and submachine guns.
FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko, in Washington, D.C., said there may have been a connection between the Canadian suspects and a Georgia Tech student and another American who had traveled to Canada to meet with Islamic extremists to discuss locations for a terrorist strike.
Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, U.S. citizens who grew up in the Atlanta area, were arrested in March.

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