Canadian pleads guilty in Toronto bomb case: report

Wed May 6, 2009 12:45pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian man has pleaded guilty to playing a role in what police say was a plan to bomb major landmarks in Toronto's downtown core three years ago, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

Saad Khalid, one of a group dubbed the "Toronto 18" who were arrested in a police sting in 2006, made the surprise plea on Monday. But the news was kept from the public due to a publication ban that was lifted on Tuesday.

Khalid, who is the first adult from the group to admit a hand in the alleged plot, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a terrorist organization "with the intention of causing an explosion or explosions that were likely to cause serious bodily harm or death," or to damage property, the newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Attempts to reach Khalid's lawyer for comment were unsuccessful.

Khalid was arrested and charged on June 2, 2006.

Eleven other adults and five young people were also charged after they allegedly tried to buy three tons of what they thought was ammonium nitrate -- a bomb-making ingredient used in the 1995 Oklahoma City blast -- from undercover police officers.

One other man has been found guilty in connection with the case.

Police have alleged the group intended to target major Toronto landmarks including the CN Tower, the Toronto Stock Exchange and a building housing the offices of CSIS, Canada's spy service.

The case initially drew huge media attention as a test of anti-terrorism laws introduced in 2001, and as a lightning rod for criticism that Canada is a breeding ground for terror cells that could pose a threat to the United States.

(Reporting by Ashleigh Patterson; Editing by Frank McGurty )