17 charged in Canadian bomb plotCops: Group got 3 tons of ammonium nitrate
By Ian Austen
New York Times News Service
Published June 4, 2006
OTTAWA -- Seventeen Canadian residents have been charged with plotting to destroy targets in Ontario with crude but powerful bombs, Canadian authorities said Saturday.
At a news conference in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, police and intelligence officials said they had been monitoring the group of teens and men for some time and moved in to make arrests Friday after group members took delivery of 3 tons of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be transformed into an explosive when combined with fuel oil.
"It was their intent to use it for a terrorist attack," said Mike McDonell, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police assistant commissioner. "If I can put this in context for you, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people was completed with only 1 ton of ammonium nitrate."
The 17 suspects--almost all in their teens or early 20s, with one 30-year-old and one 43-year-old--had planned to attack sites in the southern part of Ontario, police said.
Officials declined to identify specific targets, though they did dismiss media reports that Toronto's subway system was on the list.
The 17 suspects were arrested in raids that began late Friday and continued until early Saturday.
All were taken to a heavily fortified police station in Pickering, Ontario, east of Toronto.
Five suspects under 18 were not identified by the authorities.
The others were identified as Fahim Ahmad, 21; Zakaria Amara, 20; Asad Ansari, 21; Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30; Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43; Mohammed Dirie, 22; Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24; Jahmaal James, 23; Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19; Steven Vikash Chand, alias Abdul Shakur, 25; Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, and Saad Khalid, 19.
"They represent the broad strata of our society," McDonell said. "Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed."
Intelligence official Luc Portelance said the group's members "appear to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by Al Qaeda."
But he said there was no evidence of links between the two groups.
The FBI released a statement saying there was a "preliminary indication" that some of the Canadian suspects might have had "limited contact" with two people from Georgia who were recently arrested: Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, an American of Bangladeshi descent, and Syed Haris Ahmed, 21, a Pakistani-born American.
Law-enforcement officials said the two men had made "casing" videos of various sites in Washington. Officials also have said their case was linked to the arrests of several men in Britain last fall.
By GIOVANNA DELL'ORTO
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA (AP) -- A 21-year-old Georgia Tech student and another man traveled to Canada to meet with Islamic extremists to discuss "strategic locations in the United States suitable for a terrorist strike," according to an affidavit made public Friday.
Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, both U.S. citizens who grew up in the Atlanta area, met with at least three other targets of ongoing FBI terrorism investigations during a trip to Canada in March 2005, the FBI agent's affidavit said.
The affidavit said the men discussed attacks against oil refineries and military bases and planned to travel to Pakistan to get military training at a terrorist camp, which authorities said Ahmed then tried to do.
Ahmed, who was indicted on suspicion of giving material support of terrorism, was being held at an undisclosed location.
Sadequee, who is accused of making materially false statements in connection with an ongoing federal terrorism investigation, was arrested in Bangladesh and was en route to New York City to be arraigned.
"There is no imminent threat," said FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko, a spokesman in Washington.