Canada thwarts "al Qaeda-supported" passenger train plot

Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:10pm EDT
 
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (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 in Toronto.

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 the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three and injured more than 200 people last week.

Neither is a Canadian citizen, but the police did not reveal their nationalities.

A spokeswoman for the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique near Montreal confirmed that Esseghaier was a doctoral student at the research institute and that he had been arrested.

Julie Martineau, the school's director of communications, said Esseghaier arrived at the school in 2010 and was about midway through his degree.

"He is doing a PhD in the field of energy and materials sciences," she told Reuters.

A bail hearing for the two will take place in Toronto on Tuesday morning.   Continued...

 
A Via Rail Canada passenger train pulls into Dorval Station in Montreal, in this July 22, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Shaun Best/Files