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Thread: Mounties bust terrorist cell in Toronto

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Exclamation Mounties bust terrorist cell in Toronto

    Police from across the GTA, led by the RCMP's anti-terrorism task force, swooped down on as many as 12 locations Friday night to arrest members of what is being described as a homegrown terrorist cell.

    Police remained tight-lipped about the massive operation, but have scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Saturday.

    Shortly after the first arrests the suspects were driven to a heavily-guarded Pickering police station.

    The station, on Brock Rd. in Pickering, was surrounded by a heavy ring of police security. A long line of unmarked police cars with suspects sat inside the security perimeter. About every 15 minutes or so another car would be admitted to the station's underground parking garage, where suspects entered the station for processing.

    Heavily-armed members of the Durham region tactical unit were stationed at one-metre intervals around the station. Dozens of plainclothes officers, and uniformed RCMP, Durham and Toronto police were involved in the processing.

    According to the Star's sources, the Canadian spy service CSIS has been monitoring the group since 2004, and an RCMP criminal investigation was launched last year.

    Police have not said why they acted Friday night, and would not say how well-organized the group is, or whether it is armed.

    “It is very serious,” a source who asked not to be named told Canadian Press. "These people had plans.”

    While the intended target is unclear, the plan was to detonate an explosive device in Ontario, the source said.

    “That’s the tool of choice for anybody who wants to cause damage.”
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    A group of Canadian teenagers and young men in their 20s, accused by police of being members of a suspected homegrown terrorist cell, will appear in court this morning to face accusations that they plotted to attack Canadian targets, the Toronto Star has learned.

    Some members of the group allegedly attended a "training camp" north of the city where they made a video imitating military warfare, and the suspects allegedly had acquired weapons and listed targets in Ontario, sources told the Star.

    Led by the RCMP's anti-terrorism task force, more than 400 police officers from across Ontario made the series of arrests last night and early this morning, taking as many as a dozen suspects into custody at a heavily guarded Pickering police station. Sources said there was a concern that some of the group's members had acquired explosives.

    The arrested men were driven one by one into the Ajax Pickering community police station at Brock and Kingston Rds. and were taken into the underground garage for processing. Unmarked police cars lined up outside the door, with one car being allowed in approximately every 15 minutes.

    Members of the Durham region tactical unit were stationed at one-metre intervals providing a security wall around the police property. Just before 11:30 p.m., five vans belonging to Toronto police's elite Emergency Task Force unit and the force's canine unit converged on a Scarborough home.

    The arrests were expected to continue overnight and early this morning, sources say.

    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.

    It's not known specifically why police acted last night and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

    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.

    Mohammad Momin Khawaja, an Ottawa-area software operator, was the first person arrested on terrorism charges and will stand trial in January for his alleged connection to a British group.

    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 London bombings on the subway and a double-decker bus last July were blamed on a homegrown British group.

    Although the RCMP would not talk about the arrests last night, community sources confirmed the names of three of the men now behind bars.

    Fahim Ahmad, a 22-year-old Scarborough father, was arrested late yesterday. He allegedly rented a car last summer for two men who were later caught bringing weapons across the border into Canada.

    The arrests of two other men from Mississauga — brothers-in-law Ahmad Ghany and Zakaria Amara — shocked neighbours and family who said they couldn't believe the allegations.

    "I think they have it wrong. Those guys have nothing to do with (terrorism)," said Scarborough Imam Aly Hindy.

    Hindy has been a high profile critic of the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service, accusing the federal agency of targeting Muslims who criticize the foreign policies of Western governments.

    He believes this is what led to the arrests yesterday.

    "Because they are young people, and they are Muslims, they are saying it's terrorism," he said in an interview last night.

    Ahmad had only moved into the Scarborough area, near Sheppard Ave. and Markham Rd., a few weeks ago.

    "This is a good community and we're very shocked by the news. We leave our whole family here for the whole day, including our small children, and come back to this," said local resident Qadeer Mohammed.

    "This very shocking, and the whole community will be affected."

    The case is critical for Canada's international reputation and will be scrutinized worldwide as it works its way through the courts.

    There has been cause for skepticism concerning the ability of Canada's intelligence and police services to prosecute security cases. Since 9/11, the majority of high-profile security investigations have ended in international embarrassment, such as the acquittal of suspects in the Air India bombing case and the Maher Arar affair which raised questions about international information sharing, exposed an inexperienced federal police force and left an Ottawa man broken after his deportation, detention and torture in Syria.

    Then there was Project Thread, a 2003 joint immigration-RCMP case touted as the dismantling of an Al Qaeda cell, but ending in a routine immigration case that sent Pakistani students home branded terrorists.

    With files from Bob Mitchell
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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