February 3, 2015 / 6:14 PM / 4 years ago

Canadian police arrest man, charge him with aiding Islamic State

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police on Tuesday arrested an Ottawa man they said was planning to aid Islamic State fighters and charged him with participation in the activity of a terrorist group.

(L to R) Assistant Superintendent Joan McKenna, Ottawa Police Services; Assistant Commissioner James Malizia, RCMP Federal Policing Operations; Chief Superintendent Jennifer Strachan, RCMP Criminal Operations Office, and Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, Ontario Provincial Police, listen to reporters' questions at RCMP headquarters after announcing terror-related charges have been laid against three men in Ottawa, February 3, 2015. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the man, Awso Peshdary, 25, was also accused of facilitating the activity of a terrorist group. They stressed there had never been any immediate threat to the Canadian public.

Police said they had laid charges in absentia against two other Ottawa men they said had left Canada to fight with Islamic State. They named them as Khadar Khalib, 23, and John Maguire, 24.

“Through each terrorist-related charge we lay and each arrest we make, we send a message, which illustrates our strong resolve to root out terrorist threats,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Jennifer Strachan told a news conference.

Media reports say Maguire died in fighting in Syria, but the police said they had no conclusive evidence of that.

The RCMP said in October it was tracking about 90 individuals who could pose a danger in Canada or abroad, and vowed to make more arrests.

Canadian security officials have said they are concerned by what they have described as potential attacks by the so-called lone wolf converts to Islam.

The Canadian government, acting in the wake of two fatal attacks by suspected Islamist militants in October 2014, last week introduced legislation giving security agencies more powers to disrupt plots.

Police arrested Peshdary in 2010 as part of an earlier probe into extremist groups but released him because of a lack of evidence.

Two men charged with plotting to derail a train traveling from New York to Toronto had their plans foiled by an undercover police officer who convinced them he could help pull off the attack, jurors heard at the opening of their trial on Monday.

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Randall Palmer; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Steve Orlofsky

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