Two men due in court after Canada thwarts al-Qa'ida-linked plot to blow up US-Canada rail line

Two men arrested, following year-long investigation, with no links to Boston Marathon bombings, according to authorities

Canadian security forces have foiled a homegrown terrorist plot to derail a passenger train travelling between Toronto and New York, it was revealed today. Police announced that they had arrested two men, who planned to blow up a rail line on the Canadian side of the US-Canada border.

Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, from Montreal, and 35-year-old Raed Jaser, of Toronto, have been charged with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack, and “conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.”

A spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said at a news conference that the “al-Qa'ida-supported attack” was unconnected to last week’s Boston Marathon bombings. RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia told reporters, “Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or severely injured.” But while the two men had the “capacity and intent” to execute an attack, a police statement insisted there was “no imminent threat to the public, rail employees or infrastructure.”

The men had "direction and guidance" from al-Qa'ida members in Iran, though there was no reason to think the planned attacks were state-sponsored, Malizia said.

The arrests reportedly came at the climax of a lengthy, multi-agency investigation, christened “Operation Smooth,” which began in August 2012, and drew in not only several Canadian law enforcement agencies, but also the US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

It is the latest in a string of terrorism-related incidents involving Canadian citizens. In January, two men in their early 20s from the same high school in London, Ontario died taking part in an Islamist attack on a gas plant in Algeria.

A week ago, it emerged that Mahad Ali Dhore, a Canadian who travelled to Somalia in 2009 to join the militant Islamist group Al Shabab, had been killed in a suicide attack at the law courts in the capital, Mogadishu. In 2006, 18 men from the Toronto area were arrested and accused of planning to detonate truck bombs in Toronto, before storming the Canadian Parliament and beheading the country’s Prime Minister. Eleven men were eventually convicted for participating in the plot

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EBD LSA vacancy - Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan

£60 - £65 per day + Travel Scheme plus free professional training: Randstad Ed...

Science Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Are you a qualified secondary...

Foundation Phase teacher vacancy - Roath, Cardiff

£100 - £105 per day + Travel Scheme plus free professional training: Randstad ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Are you a qualified secondary...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week