~~ April 22, 2013~~
~~By: Jim Kouri~~
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service nabbed two terrorism suspects plotting attacks on the United States.
Canadian police and security services announced the details of the capture of two terrorism suspects in Toronto on Monday and that they thwarted a "major terrorist attack" targeting the United States.

The two accused, Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser, who live in the Montreal and Toronto area were conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack against a VIA passenger train. Charges include 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, according to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police statement.

During an afternoon press conference in Toronto today at 3:30 p.m., officials from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police provided the details of a “National Security criminal investigation." The press conference was held in English and French.

The RCMP spokesperson said the thwarting of a major terrorist plot aimed at Canada comes amid a rise in concern about home-grown Islamists residing in Canada.

The RCMP-led investigation team included members of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country’s main intelligence body, and the Canada Border Service Agency. The RCMP spokesperson reported that arrests have been made that the terrorism investigation included U.S. agencies.

One of the terrorist plots uncovered was a planned bombing of a passenger train on the bridge that connects Canada and the United States at Niagara Falls, according to the spokesperson.

Canada's fight against terrorism

Canadians have become increasingly concerned by the threat of home-grown terrorism and radicalization.

Earlier this month, the RCMP confirmed that the corpses of two men from southern Ontario had been found at the Algerian gas plant that was attacked by terrorists in January. People familiar with the matter said the two men were part of the terror group.

Though Canada has had comparatively few deadly terror strikes on its shores, the country has been targeted by terrorists ranging from a Quebec separatist movement to Islamacist threats.

In August 2010, Canadian authorities foiled a terrorist bomb-making plot in which three men were arrested after raids on their houses turned up schematics, videos, drawings, books and manuals for making explosives.

"Canada's solidarity with the United States and other Western democracies in the fight against terrorism has rendered Canada a potential target. For this reason, the intelligence, law enforcement and security communities have been working in close collaboration to identify and apprehend terrorists and thus prevent a terrorist attack from ever occurring in Canada," according to officials with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Identifying and apprehending terrorists is more challenging than ever. Sunni Islamic extremists such as the members of the Al Qaeda network, for example, are often well-educated in specialized fields such as computer science, biochemistry and engineering, according to CSIS offficials.

According to counterterrorism experts, there are many terrorist organizations active within Canada's borders. Their presence can be attributed to Canada's proximity to the United States, one of the world's pre-eminent terrorist targets, but also to the fact that Canada is an attractive place to live and do business because of its openness, and its respect for human rights and freedoms.

With so many terrorist groups in Canada, people might wonder why the media are not reporting the occurrence of serious violence in Canada on a regular basis. While some Canadians have been victims of large-scale terrorist attacks-most notably in the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight from Toronto and the 2001 destruction of New York's twin towers-Canada, as a country, has not often been targeted specifically for attack. But Canada has been used as a base of operations against the United States, with several incidents of terrorists captured crossing the Canadian-U.S. border.

For this reason, many people in Canada have come to equate terrorism with the violence and tragic events that occur in foreign countries.

The most visible aspect of terrorist activity is physical violence; however, the absence of violence in Canada does not mean the absence of terrorist activity. Most activities in Canada support actions elsewhere linked to homeland conflicts, and are relatively subtle in nature, said Canadian officials