Al-Qaeda terrorist bombing plot foiled by Canadian Mounties
Plans to blow up New York-to-Toronto by Iranian operatives stopped before it begins
A diabolical plot to bomb a train from New York headed to Toronto by al-Qaeda operatives has been foiled by the Canadian Mounties. As a testament to the diligence exercised by the iconic symbol of Canadian law and order, the whole plot was derailed before it ever got out of the station, officials say.
While the two bombing suspects are not Canadian citizens, both have lived in Canada for "a significant amount of time" and had been planning their attack for more than a year, he said.
"This is the first known Al Qaeda planned attack that we've experienced in Canada," Superintendent Doug Best of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.
Thirty-year-old Esseghaier, residing in Montreal and 35-year-old Jaser, living in Toronto were getting "direction and guidance" from their al-Qaeda handlers in Iran.
"Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or seriously injured," Assistant RCMP Commissioner James Malizia said.
Sources familiar with the investigation told reporters that the two suspects were targeting an Amtrak passenger train bound for Canada out of Penn Station in Manhattan. When Amtrak trains cross the border, passengers switch to Canadian via Rail trains. The pair allegedly intended to attack the trains only after they'd left the U.S. and crossed into Canada. It wasn't clear precisely where the attack was to take place.
"There was not an imminent threat to Amtrak passengers, employees or the general public," Amtrak said in a statement.
Canadian officials said there did not appear to be any connection between the plot and the Boston bombings.
Esseghaier and Jaser have been charged with conspiring to carry out an attack and murder people in association with a terrorist group. Both have a Tuesday court date.
While the two men are not Canadian citizens, both have lived in Canada for "a significant amount of time" and had been planning their attack for more than a year, he said.
When the Canadians realized what the target was, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were alerted and joined in the probe.
"I commend our Canadian counterterrorism partners, particularly the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for their efforts in stopping a major terrorist plot which was intended to cause significant loss of human life including New Yorkers," Rep. Pete King (R-Long Island), the chairman of the House Counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee said.
"The Police Commissioner and the NYPD counter-terrorism officers have been kept apprised of this since early on in the Canadian investigation," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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