UPDATE 8-Canada thwarts 'al Qaeda-supported' passenger train plot

Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:29pm EDT
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* Two men charged with plot to derail passenger train

* Plot "al Qaeda-supported," not related to Boston bombings

* U.S. officials say pair targeted Canada-U.S. train

By Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, April 22 (Reuters) - Canadian police said on Monday they had arrested and charged two men with plotting to derail a Toronto-area passenger train in an operation they say was backed by al Qaeda elements in Iran.

"Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or seriously injured," Royal Canadian Mounted Police official James Malizia told reporters.

The RCMP said it had arrested Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto in connection with the plot, which authorities said was not linked to last week's Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three and injured more than 200 people last week.

Neither is a Canadian citizen, and police did not reveal their nationalities. Two sources following the investigation said one of the two was Tunisian.

Canada's spy agency has long expressed concern about the possibility that disgruntled and radicalized Canadians could attack targets at home and abroad.   Continued...