Canadian authorities have disrupted an alleged plot that targeted a passenger train line running between New York and Toronto, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced Monday. The plan involved derailing a train, but police officials would give few details about the plot at a news conference this afternoon.
But they did say they believe the suspects received support or help from al-Qaida.
The two accused, Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, 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.”
Announcing the arrests, officials said that the pair had the ability to carry out their plan, but “there was no imminent threat to the general public, rail employees, train passengers or infrastructure.”
The authorities say the suspects are not connected to last Monday’s bombing attack on the Boston Marathon.
The two men lived apart — Esseghaier in Montreal and Jaser in Toronto. They were reportedly under surveillance for more than a year before their arrest. A court date has been set for Tuesday.
“Sources say the alleged plot disrupted by Monday’s arrests was potentially more dangerous than the bombings and hostage-takings planned by the so-called Toronto 18,” reports the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, referring to the 2006 case in which 18 people were arrested and charged with plotting to blow up several vital political and economic sites.
The operation included the assistance of the FBI, along with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Canada Border Service Agency, and eight other police agencies, RCMP said Monday.