Police said Monday more arrests are likely in an alleged plot to bomb
buildings in Canada, while intelligence officers sought ties between the 17
suspects and Islamic terror cells in the United States and five other
A court said authorities had charged all 12 adults arrested over the weekend
with participating in a terrorist group. Other charges included importing
weapons and planning a bombing. The charges against five minors were not
The Parliament of Canada, in Ottawa, is believed to be among targets the
group discussed. Toronto Mayor David Miller said CN Tower, a downtown
landmark, and the city's subway were not targets as had been the speculated
in local media, but declined to identify sites that were.
A Muslim prayer leader who knew the oldest suspect, 43-year-old Qayyum Abdul
Jamal, told The Associated Press on Monday that Jamal's sermons at a
storefront mosque were "filled with hate" against Canada.
Authorities said more arrests were expected, possibly this week, as police
pursue leads about a group that they say was inspired by the violent
ideology of the al-Qaida terror network.
"We've by no means finished this investigation," Mike McDonell, deputy
commissioner for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told AP. "In fact, you
might look at it that, really, we're just starting with the arrests. We have
a responsibility to follow every lead."
Although both Canadian and U.S. officials said over the weekend there was no
indication the purported terror group had targets outside Ontario, McDonell
told AP on Monday that there are "foreign connections," but he would not
In Washington, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White
House, said President Bush spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
about the case Monday afternoon, but gave no specifics of what was
"Prime Minister Harper called the president to update him on the situation
involving the arrest of 17 individuals in Toronto who are charged with
terrorism-related offenses," spokesman Frederick Jones said.
A U.S. law enforcement official said investigators were looking for
connections between those detained in Canada and suspected Islamic militants
held in the United States, Britain, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Denmark and Sweden.
American authorities have established that two men from Georgia who were
charged this year in a terrorism case had been in contact with some of the
Canadian suspects via computer, the official said, speaking on condition of
anonymity because the investigation is continuing.
Prosecutors have said the Georgia men, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee and Syed Haris
Ahmed, traveled to Washington to shoot "casing videos" of the Capitol and
other potential targets.
Sadequee, 19, a U.S. citizen who grew up near Atlanta, is accused of lying
to federal authorities during an FBI terrorism investigation. Ahmed, 21, a
Georgia Tech student, faces a charge he provided material support and
resources for terrorism.
In Atlanta, Ahmed's lawyer, Jack Martin, told AP there may have been some
connection between his client and the suspects, but he insisted it wasn't
part of any terrorism plot.
"Other than having the possibility that they may have met at some point, I
know of no indication that anyone believes my client had anything to do with
what these guys were up to," Martin said.
A U.S. counterterrorism official said the 17 suspects in Canada are an
example of a type of group that authorities have been concerned about for
some time: self-organized, ad hoc cells of homegrown extremists, a
development first seen in Britain.
The official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Canada's
government rightfully considered the 17 a serious threat because there was
evidence the group was far along in planning attacks.
"It came to a point where our concern for the safety and security of the
public far outweighed our appetite for collecting evidence," said McDonell,
the RCMP deputy commissioner.
The U.S. counterterrorism official added there was no reason to believe the
group had U.S. targets in mind, but also no reason to exclude the potential.
Canadian police say there is no evidence the suspect group had ties to
al-Qaida, but describe its members as being sympathetic to jihadist
ideology. Officials are concerned that many of the 17 suspects were roughly
20 years old and had been radicalized in a short amount of time.
The Ontario Court of Justice released details of the charges faced by the 12
adult men arrested Friday and Saturday. The men are scheduled to appear in
court Tuesday for a bail hearing.
Each is charged with one count of participating in a terrorist group.
Three of them — Fahim Ahmad, 21, Mohammed Dirie, 22, and Yasim Abdi Mohamed,
24 — also are charged with importing weapons and ammunition for the purpose
of terrorist activity.
Nine face charges of receiving training from a terrorist group, while four
are charged with providing training. Six also are charged with intending to
cause an explosion that could cause serious bodily harm or death.
No information was released on the five young males arrested due to federal
privacy laws that protect minors.
Canadian media have reported that the suspects attended a training camp in
Washago, a rural community 90 north of Toronto. The National Post quoted
unidentified residents in the wooded area as saying they heard machine-gun
fire and saw men dressed in camouflage carrying equipment.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police displayed evidence Saturday that included
camouflage uniforms, flashlights, walkie-talkies and detonators, but have
refused to confirm whether they were used at a training facility.
Officials announced Saturday that the suspects were arrested after the group
acquired three tons of ammonium nitrate, which can be mixed with fuel oil to
make a powerful explosive. One-third that amount was used in the deadly
bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.
The Toronto Star reported that undercover Mounties delivered the substance
to the group in a sting operation. The Star, citing unidentified sources,
said the suspects actually received a harmless substance.
Some people who know the suspects said they were astonished by the arrests.
But Faheem Bukhari, a director of the Mississauga Muslim Community Center,
said Jamal, the oldest suspect, had taken to giving hateful sermons and
preaching intolerance to young Muslims at a small storefront mosque in
Mississauga, a city near Toronto where six of the suspects lived.
"These youth were very fun-loving guys, soccer-loving guys, and then all of
sudden they were not associating with guys they used to," Bukhari told AP,
referring to some of the younger suspects.
He said Jamal once told "the audience that the Canadian Forces were going to
Afghanistan to rape women."
Canada has about 2,300 soldiers in southern Afghanistan to bolster Afghan
reconstruction and combat Taliban militants.
Bukhari's description contrasted with the view of another prayer leader at
the mosque, who said while Jamal was "aggressive" in his sermons but never
promoted hatred or violence.
"I will say that they were steadfast, religious people. There's no doubt
about it. But here we always preach peace and moderation," Qamrul Khanson