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TORONTO – Canadian media gave blanket coverage Monday to a homegrown terror plot thwarted by counter-terrorist police and intelligence agencies in the wake of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it arrested two men and charged them with conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack on a Via Rail passenger train reportedly on its way from Toronto to New York City.
The naming of the suspects, 30-year-old Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal and 34-year-old Raed Jaser of Toronto, came during an RCMP news conference carried live on domestic news networks.
The charges include conspiring to carry out an attack against, and conspiring to murder persons, at the direction of a terrorist group.
The Canadian train attack was “an al-Qaeda supported” plot, likely hatched in Iran, assistant RCMP commissioner James Malizia told reporters.
The arrests, part of a joint police and RCMP operation called Project Smooth, are unconnected with the Boston Marathon bombing.
“While the RCMP believed that these individuals had the capacity and intent to carry out these criminal acts, there was no imminent threat to the general public, rail employees, train passengers or infrastructure,” the RCMP said in a statement Monday.
The RCMP received assistance during its investigation from the FBI.
“Each and every terrorist arrest the RCMP makes sends a message and illustrates our strong resolve to root out terrorist threats and keep Canadians and our allies safe,” added Malizia, responsible for federal policing operations.
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