Added by Erik West on April 22, 2013
Canadian authorities announced on Monday they have disrupted a planned terrorist attack on a passenger train and arrested two people, possibly linked to al-Qaeda.
In a press conference held by the RCMP, Canada’s national and federal police force, said, “As a result of extensive collaborative efforts, the RCMP was able to disrupt the threat early. While the RCMP believed that these individuals had the capacity and intent to carry out these criminal acts, there was no imminent threat to the general public, rail employees, train passengers or infrastructure.”
The two arrested are Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, in Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario. Authorities said the men “were receiving support from al-Qaeda elements located in Iran” and added they do not have any indication the possible attacks were state-sponsored.
Both men are not Canadian citizens and are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday on charges of “conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack” and “conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.”
The arrest of the two men is part of a cross border investigation involving authorities from Canada and the United States, including the FBI, and US Department of Homeland Security.
A Canadian news report stated attack on the train the two men were targeting would have occurred on the Canadian side of a route between New York and Toronto.
Authorities declined to provide further details about the two suspects, yet a spokesperson for the University of Sherbrooke reportedly said Esseghaier studied at the university between 2008-2009.
The arrests come on the same day Canadian MPs debate an anti-terrorism bill that includes provisions that make it an offence to leave the country to participate in acts of terror and grants police the power to pre-emptively arrest someone suspected of terrorism and hold them for three days without charges.