17 Terror Suspects Arrested in Toronto

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. 17 Terror Suspects Arrested in Toronto
    Jun 03 11:09 AM US/Eastern

    Associated Press Writer


    Seventeen Canadian residents were in custody Saturday on terrorism- related charges, including plots to use explosives in attacks on Canadian soil, authorities said.

    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they arrested 12 male adults and five youth and foiled plans for terrorist attacks against targets in southern Ontario.

    Officials showed evidence of bomb making materials, a computer hard drive, camouflage uniforms and what appears to be a door with bullet holes in it at a news conference Saturday morning.

    "This group took steps to acquire three tons of ammonium nitrate and other components necessary to create explosive devices," said assistant Royal Canadian Mounted Police commissioner Mike McDonell said.

    McDonell said that is three times the amount used to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

    The arrests were made Friday, with some 400 officers involved.

    McDonell said the suspects were either citizens or residents of Canada and had trained together.

    "The men arrested yesterday are Canadian residents from a variety of backgrounds. For various reasons they appeared to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by al-Qaida," said Luc Portelance, the assistant director of operations with CSIS _ Canada's spy agency.

    Heavily armed police officers ringed the Durham Regional Police Station in the city of Pickering, just east of Toronto, as the suspects were brought in late Friday night in unmarked cars which were drove into an underground garage.

    The Toronto Star reported Saturday that Canadian youths in their teens and 20s, upset at the treatment of Muslims worldwide, were among those arrested.

    The newspaper said they had trained at a camp north of Toronto and had plotted to attack CSIS's downtown office near the CN Tower, among other targets.

    Melisa Leclerc, a spokeswoman for the federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, had no comment on the arrests.

    In March 2004, Ottawa software developer Mohammad Momin Khawaja became the first Canadian charged under the country's Anti-Terrorism Act for alleged activities in Ottawa and London. Khawaja was also named, but not charged, in British for playing a role in a foiled bomb plot. He is being held in an Ottawa detention center, awaiting trial.

    The Canadian anti-terrorism law was passed swiftly following the Sept. 11 assaults, particularly after Osama bin-Laden's named Canada one of five so-called Christian nations that should be targeted for acts of terror. The others, reaffirmed in 2004 by his al-Qaida network, were the United States, Britain, Spain and Australian, all of which have been victims of terrorist attacks.

    The anti-terrorism law permits the government to brand individuals and organizations as terrorists and gives police the power to make preventive arrests of people suspected of planning a terrorist attack.

    Though many view Canada as an unassuming neutral nation that has skirted terrorist attacks, it has suffered its share of aggression, including the 1985 Air India bombing, in which 329 people were killed, most of them Canadian citizens.

    Intelligence officials believe at least 50 terror groups now have some presence in the North American nation and have long complained that the country's immigration laws and border security are too weak to weed out potential terrorists.