TORONTO (AP) — Two men were arrested and charged with plotting a terrorist attack against a Canadian passenger train with support from al-Qaida “elements” in Iran, police said Monday.
Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, who live in Montreal and Toronto, were planning to derail a Via Rail passenger train in Toronto but posed no immediate threat, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.
“This is the first known al-Qaida planned attack that we’ve experienced in Canada,” Superintendent Doug Best told a news conference.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said the two men had “direction and guidance” from “al-Qaida elements located in Iran,” though there was no reason to think the planned attacks were state-sponsored. Police said the men did not get financial support from al-Qaida, but declined to provide more details.
“It was definitely in the planning stage but not imminent,” RCMP chief superintendent Jennifer Strachan said. “We are alleging that these two individuals took steps and conducted activities to initiate a terrorist attack. They watched trains and railways.”