RCMP says makes "terrorism"-related arrests

Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:24pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police arrested two people on Wednesday in relation to what they called "terrorist offenses" and said they expect to make further arrests.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police declined to give any details on the alleged offenses, but promised further information at a news conference scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. (1700 GMT).

"Search warrants are being executed in order to secure additional evidence. More arrests are anticipated," the RCMP said in a release.

Local police in Ottawa confirmed they had assisted in making the arrests, which local media said occurred in a residential street on the city's west side where there has been a heavy police presence since the early morning.

Both the National Post and Toronto Star newspapers, citing unnamed sources, reported that the arrests stemmed from an investigation by the RCMP's national security unit into an alleged Ottawa terrorism cell that was plotting an attack on Canadian targets.

Both papers also said police believed at least one of the suspects had links to al-Qaeda. The RCMP and Ottawa police declined to comment on those reports.

The arrests come a few weeks after a Canadian jury convicted the final two members of the "Toronto 18" extremist group for their role in a 2006 plot to blow up Toronto landmarks.

The arrests and trials of those men surprised Canadians, still unaccustomed to the idea that a home-grown terror cell could exist in their country.

The group was angered by Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan.

The head of the nation's spy agency said earlier this year that Canada was tracking more than 200 people linked to al Qaeda and other organizations considered to be terrorist.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Rob Wilson)