Police say Ottawa suspects planned bomb attacks

Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:40pm EDT
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Three men arrested in Canada on terror-related charges -- one of whom was reported to have once auditioned for the "Canadian Idol" TV show -- were plotting bomb attacks and had connections to a group fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan, police said on Thursday.

Police arrested two of the men in Ottawa on Wednesday and a third in London, Ontario, on Thursday, following a nearly year-long investigation. It was the country's biggest anti-terror sweep since a plan by the "Toronto 18" conspirators to blow up Canadian landmarks was uncovered in 2006.

The lead investigator said police made the arrests this week because they believed some form of action was imminent.

"This group posed a real and serious threat to the national capital region and Canada's national security," Serge Therriault, chief investigator for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told reporters.

"Our criminal investigation and arrests prevented the assembly of any bombs and the terrorist attack or attacks from being carried out."

Because the case is now before the courts, police would not say how advanced they will allege the group's plans were.

Therriault said police made the arrests now "because of the imminence of certain things" and because they had gathered enough evidence to support the charges. During the past year there were "varying degrees of imminence" to the threat of an attack, he said.

Police alleged the group's targets were two-fold: Ottawa and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the latter through financing weapons purchases for groups fighting in that country.   Continued...