Monday, April 22, 2013

Attack on VIA Rail train thwarted

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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested two men April 22 who had been planning to bomb a Via Rail Canada passenger train. One was arrested in Toronto and one near Montreal following a lengthy counter-terrorism investigation, “Project SMOOTH,” that began in August 2012 and included the FBI.

The two men—Chiheb Esseghaier, age 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, age 35, of Toronto—were working with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, according to the RCMP. They had planned to blow up a Via Rail train as it traveled over the Niagara River.

RCMP Chief Superintendent Jennifer Stracken said that the two “watched trains and railways in and around the Greater Toronto Area.” She emphasized that the public was never in “imminent danger.” The two suspects “had been under constant observation” and “contingency plans had been made.”

The RCMP also executed search warrants at several locations in Toronto and Montreal on Monday afternoon.

The RCMP held a news conference at Toronto Pearson International Airport. To see a video of the press conference, CLICK HERE.

Amtrak immediately issued a statement, saying, “Amtrak is aware of the ongoing investigation and will continue to work with Canadian authorities to assist in their efforts.”