Canadian police: 2 arrested in al Qaeda-supported terror plot

Photo provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Monday, April 22, 2013 - 5:25pm

Canadian authorities have arrested two men accused of plotting to attack a passenger train in an al Qaeda-supported plot, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Monday.

Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto, are accused of conspiring to murder people on a VIA Canadian railway train, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said. While the suspects had the capacity to carry out an attack, the public was never in imminent danger, police told reporters.

Police said the suspects "were receiving support from al Qaeda elements in Iran."

The support entailed direction and guidance, police said.

The suspects, who are not Canadian citizens, are scheduled to make their first court appearance on Tuesday, police said.

They are charged with conspiring to carry out an attack against, and conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group, police said in a statement.

News of the arrests came the same day Canada's parliament debated an anti-terrorism bill.

An official with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told CNN that there is no link between the Canadian investigation and the Boston bomb attack, and added there was no known link with the Canadians involved in the terror attack on the Algerian gas plant in January.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation quoted "highly placed sources" as saying the suspects were under surveillance for more than a year.

The CBC reported that the investigation was "part of a cross-border operation involving Canadian law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."

-- CNN's Steve Almasy and Paula Newton contributed to this report.

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