“Canadian police said on Monday they had arrested and charged two men with plotting to derail a Toronto-area passenger train in an operation they say was backed by al Qaeda elements in Iran.
“Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or seriously injured,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police official James Malizia told reporters in Toronto.
The RCMP said it had arrested Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto in connection with the plot, which authorities said was not linked to the Boston Marathon bombing. …
Neither is a Canadian citizen, but the police did not reveal their nationalities.
A spokeswoman for the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique near Montreal confirmed that Esseghaier was a doctoral student at the research institute and that he had been arrested.
“The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the surveillance operation leading to the arrests of the two suspects was “a result of extensive collaborative efforts”.
They said the two men were not Canadian citizens and were supported by “al-Qaeda elements in Iran” but there was no evidence of state sponsorship.
Their plan was to derail a train and “kill and hurt people”.
Chief Spt Jennifer Strachan said the two men had sought to target “a specific route, but not necessarily a specific train”.
VIA operates passenger rail services across Canada.
At the same time, the RCMP said they believed the plot was in the planning stage and “there was no imminent threat to the general public”.