In a series of police raids last night, over 400 RCMP officers in joint operation with CSIS, arrested up to 12 suspects across Ontario suspected of plotting a series of terrorist attacks in the province including one in downtown Toronto at an office building near the CN Tower.
The Toronto Star is reporting this morning that the suspects are a group of teens and men in their early 20s.
Sources told the Star that the group had been watched by Canada’s spy service since 2004 and a criminal investigation by the RCMP began last year.
The group is being charged under the new anti-terrorism legislation introduced into the criminal code in December 2001, after the 9/11 attacks. It’s only the second time the terrorism laws have been used in Canada.
Sources close to last night’s investigation are calling the suspects arrested yesterday a “homegrown” group, meaning they are Canadian citizens or long-time residents, raised and allegedly radicalized without leaving the country. It’s a phenomenon Canadian officials have been warning about for the past few years.
The terror attacks in London last year on 7/7 were allegedly committed by homegrown Islamic fundamentalists.
CTV News somewhat confirms this and provides other revelations:
Police seized chemicals used to make explosives and weapons.
The suspects are either second-generation Canadians or recently immigrated to Canada with their families.
Sources claimed the men have no connection to al Qaeda, but were allegedly inspired by militant Islamic groups.
The National Post focuses its article upon the “homegrown” trend that has hit Europe and which now seems to have come to Canada:
Across the Atlantic, the term “European Jihad” is now used to describe the new generation of young Muslim extremists who not only live in Europe, but also consider it a legitimate terrorist target.
A Canadian Jihad is apparently underway as well.
Updates to follow…
UPDATE: The RCMP release:
TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ – On Friday, June 2, 2006, members of the RoyalCanadian Mounted Police and partners of the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team arrested 12 individuals and charged them under Section 83 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
This group took steps to acquire three tonnes of ammonium nitrate and
other components necessary to create explosive devices,” said Assistant
Commissioner Mike McDonell. “To put this in context, the 1995 bombing of the
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people took one tonne
of ammonium nitrate.”
Arrested and charged with offences under the Criminal Code of Canada are:
1. Fahim Ahmad, 21, of Robinstone Drive, Toronto, Ontario;
2. Zakaria Amara, 20, of Periwinkle Crescent, Mississauga, Ontario;
3. Asad Ansari, 21, of Rosehurst Drive, Mississauga, Ontario;
4. Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, of Lowville Heights, Mississauga, Ontario;
5. Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, of Montevideo Road, Mississauga, Ontario;
6. Mohammed Dirie, 22, Kingston, Ontario;
7. Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, Kingston, Ontario;
8. Jahmaal James, 23, of Trudelle Street, Toronto, Ontario;
9. Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19, of Stonehill Court, Toronto, Ontario;
10. Steven Vikash Chand alias Abdul Shakur, 25, of Treverton Drive, Toronto, Ontario;
11. Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, of Robin Drive, Mississauga, Ontario;
12. Saad Khalid, 19, of Eclipse Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario.
“Our investigation and arrests prevented the assembly of explosive devices and attacks being carried out. At all times, the focus of our investigation was the safety and protection of the public,” concluded McDonell.
The RCMP will not confirm targets yet the Toronto Police have specified that the TTC was not a target.
Here is a chilling poem that I found from a Zakaria Amara called “A LITTLE MUSLIM FROM PALESTINE”:
I’ll always be a contender
Yes, I know my bones are very tender
And by Allah you won’t see me surrender
Look at my eyes? You’ll see no butterflies
My home is filled with cries… due to all the lost lives
But I swear by Allah I’ll never compromise
I’ll still throw the stones even with my broken bones
Why can’t I hear from you, don’t you have any phones?
Ya I forgot, your not on the chase, try it out and put your self in my place
Soon I’ll return to my lord , the one that deserves every grace
Oh you don’t have to worry cause of me you’ll find no trace
It really is to late, why did you wait?
You could have sent me at least one dinner plate
I guess it is my fate
And La Ilaha Illa Allah is my mate.
The RCMP provides some background on the team that conducted the exercise:
Backgrounder: Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs)
National Security requires an integrated approach to ensure early detection and prevention of any potential threats to Canada and the public. The importance of greater integration of resources and intelligence has been heightened by the reality of terrorism for many countries, including Canada.
The RCMP has refocused its National Security Intelligence Sections (NSIS) to become Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) in major centres throughout the country. The purpose for this is to increase the capacity for the collection, sharing and analysis of intelligence among partners with respect to individuals and entities that are a threat to national security and; create an enhanced investigative capacity to bring such individuals and entities to justice; and enhance partner agencies collective ability to combat national security threats and meet all specific mandate responsibilities, consistent with the laws of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
INSETs are made up of representatives of the RCMP, federal partners and agencies such as Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and provincial and municipal police services. INSETs exist in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
Through shared federal, provincial and municipal resources – INSET members are better able to track, deter, disrupt and prevent criminal activities (major or minor offences) of terrorist groups or individuals who pose a threat to Canadas national security. This type of increased capacity enables INSET members to work with their partners nationally and internationally.
This release just came from Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
Date: June 03, 2006
For release: Immediate
STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER ON TERRORISM ARRESTS MADE IN TORONTO
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement in relation to the recent arrests made in Toronto, announced earlier today:
“This morning, Canadians awoke to the news that our law enforcement and national security agencies have arrested 17 individuals for terrorism related offences.
“These individuals were allegedly intent on committing acts of terrorism against their own country and their own people.
As we have said on many occasions, Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism. Through the work and cooperation of the RCMP, CSIS, local law enforcement and Toronto’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET), acts of violence by extremist groups may have been prevented.
“Today, Canada’s security and intelligence measures worked. Canada’s new Government will pursue its efforts to ensure the national security of all Canadians.”
– 30 –
The following are the sections cited by the RCMP that were broken under the Criminal Code of Canada:
(1) Every one who knowingly participates in or contributes to, directly or indirectly, any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
(2) An offence may be committed under subsection (1) whether or not
(a) a terrorist group actually facilitates or carries out a terrorist activity;
(b) the participation or contribution of the accused actually enhances the ability of a terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity; or
(c) the accused knows the specific nature of any terrorist activity that may be facilitated or carried out by a terrorist group.
(3) Participating in or contributing to an activity of a terrorist group includes
(a) providing, receiving or recruiting a person to receive training;
(b) providing or offering to provide a skill or an expertise for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group;
(c) recruiting a person in order to facilitate or commit
(i) a terrorism offence, or
(ii) an act or omission outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be a terrorism offence;
(d) entering or remaining in any country for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group; and
(e) making oneself, in response to instructions from any of the persons who constitute a terrorist group, available to facilitate or commit
(i) a terrorism offence, or
(ii) an act or omission outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be a terrorism offence.
(4) In determining whether an accused participates in or contributes to any activity of a terrorist group, the court may consider, among other factors, whether the accused
(a) uses a name, word, symbol or other representation that identifies, or is associated with, the terrorist group;
(b) frequently associates with any of the persons who constitute the terrorist group;
(c) receives any benefit from the terrorist group; or
(d) repeatedly engages in activities at the instruction of any of the persons who constitute the terrorist group.
2001, c. 41, s. 4.
Every one who commits an indictable offence under this or any other Act of Parliament for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.
2001, c. 41, s. 4.
Every one who, directly or indirectly, collects property, provides or invites a person to provide, or makes available property or financial or other related services
(a) intending that they be used, or knowing that they will be used, in whole or in part, for the purpose of facilitating or carrying out any terrorist activity, or for the purpose of benefiting any person who is facilitating or carrying out such an activity, or
(b) knowing that, in whole or part, they will be used by or will benefit a terrorist group,
is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years.
2001, c. 41, s. 4.