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Montrealer Suspected Of Al-Qaeda Ties

Posted on Friday, May 23 at 17:57 by polemarch1

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The arrest in Montreal appeared unrelated to a simultaneous roundup of suspects in Morocco in connection with last Friday's suicide attacks in Casablanca that targeted Westerners and Jews, killing 41.
Also yesterday, Saudi officials said they had arrested three Moroccans planning to hijack a state airliner and crash it into a building in Jeddah. The men are suspected members of al-Qaeda, which is also blamed for last week's explosions in Riyadh.
The Montreal man was arrested on the strength of a security certificate signed by Wayne Easter, the Solicitor-General, and Denis Coderre, the Minister of Immigration. More details, including the man's name, were expected today.
Under the rarely used security certificate process, the government must release a summary of its case against the suspected terrorist within seven days. But the detailed intelligence evidence can be seen only by the judge.
If the Federal Court of Canada rules the government's case is reasonable, the man will be ordered deported to Morocco. The government is using this same law in an attempt to deport Ernst Zundel, the far-right Holocaust denier, to his native Germany.
Moroccans have played an important role in al-Qaeda. Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker on Sept. 11, who the U.S. alleges was caught before he could execute his deadly plot, was a Moroccan.
+Several Moroccans also belonged to a Montreal-based radical Islamic cell headed by an Algerian-Canadian named Fateh Kamel, convicted in France in April, 2001, of providing support to terrorists.
They include Karim Said Atmani, a veteran holy warrior who fought jihad in Afghanistan and Bosnia, and Abdellah Ouzghar, convicted in France for terrorist-related activity. Canada is trying to extradite him to France. He claims he was framed by Canadian intelligence agents.
One of the cell members, Ahmed Ressam, studied bomb-making techniques under al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and built a powerful explosive device in Montreal and Vancouver that he intended to detonate at Los Angeles airport.
He was stopped at the Washington state border by U.S. Customs agents and is now facing a possible 130-year jail sentence. Most of the members of his cell, the so-called Groupe Fateh Kamel, have since been locked up, either in Canada or abroad.
The arrest is the latest in Canada of a suspected member of the al-Qaeda network, which has used Canada for recruiting, fundraising and planning attacks using a network of operatives and intelligence-gatherers.
Last December, police arrested Mohamed Harkat, an Ottawa pizza delivery man from Algeria who the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said was a secret member of bin Laden's network of supporters and sleeper agents.
About two dozen other Canadian-based al-Qaeda members have been caught in Canada or abroad. Many of them were trained by al-Qaeda at bin Laden's notorious terror camps in eastern Afghanistan.
Security certificate cases generally take several months to compile, making it unlikely the Montreal arrest was related to recent warnings of imminent terrorist attacks. Yesterday, bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman Al Zawahri, urged Muslims to follow the example of Sept. 11.
"Consider your 19 brothers who attacked America in Washington and New York with their planes as an example," according to an audio tape that Al Jazeera said was recorded by Al Zawahri, al-Qaeda's second-in-command.
Washington has raised its alert level to orange, the second-highest, and the military is on high alert for an attack in the United States. The U.S. has also closed its embassy in Saudi Arabia, citing "credible evidence" that attacks were planned.
American intelligence agencies are studying the latest al-Qaeda tape to surface, this one purportedly recorded by Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor, who urged Muslims to continue killing Americans, Jews and their allies.
"The protests, demonstrations and conferences won't work. Nothing will help you except carrying weapons and harming your enemies -- Americans and Jews," the tape said.
"Oh Muslims, take your decision against the embassies of America, England, Australia and Norway, their interests, their companies and their employees," the speaker said. "Turn the earth under their feet into fire."
Following the Sept. 11 attacks, Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister, said he was not aware of any terrorists operating in Canada. But security agencies claim there are 75 to 100 al-Qaeda operatives in the country.
A number of suspected Canadian al-Qaeda members have also been arrested overseas, including Omar Khadr and his brother Abdul Rahman, who are now being held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Mohamed Mansour Jabarah, who grew up in St. Catharines, Ont., was arrested in Oman last year and has since confessed to the FBI that he was involved in an al-Qaeda plot to bomb Western embassies in Singapore and Manila.

Note: From the National Post



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