Canadian police and intelligence agencies will announce later today they have thwarted a plot to carry out a major terrorist attack, arresting two suspects in Montreal and Toronto, CBC News has learned.
The two men are expected to appear in court tomorrow.
- The investigation was part of a cross-border operation involving Canadian law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
According to a Reuters report, U.S. law enforcement and national security sources said the alleged plot targeted a railroad between Toronto and New York City.
RCMP Press Release: RCMP Arrests Two Individuals for Terrorism-related Charges
Ottawa, April 22, 2013– Today, the RCMP arrested two individuals and charged them with conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack against a VIA passenger train. The accused have been charged under sections 248, 235 (1), 83.2, 83.18, 83.21 of the Criminal Code of Canada. 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 accused, Chiheb ESSEGHAIER and Raed JASER, who live in the Montreal and Toronto area were conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack against a VIA passenger train. Charges include conspiring to carry out an attack against, and conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.
The RCMP investigation named Project SMOOTH, was coordinated by RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) in Montreal and Toronto with the close collaboration of domestic partners and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The RCMP would like to thank its INSET partners including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada Border Services Agency, Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police, Peel Regional Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Durham Regional Police, the Sûreté du Québec and the service de police de la Ville de Montréal. The RCMP is also grateful for the valuable assistance of the FBI, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Transport Canada, VIA Rail and CN Police. These exceptional collaborative efforts directly contributed to making the arrests.
“Each and every terrorist arrest the RCMP makes sends a message and illustrates our strong resolve to root out terrorist threats and keep Canadians and our allies safe,” stated Assistant Commissioner James Malizia, responsible for Federal Policing Operations. “A meaningful response to these threats begins on Canadian streets and in Canadians homes and the RCMP works with all their partners, including communities across Canada, in the fight against terrorism.”
The public is always encouraged to bring any suspicious activities to the RCMP’s attention through the National Security Information Network (1-800-420-5805) or by contacting the police in their community.