Canadian cops charge minor with terror offense after security raids

Clay Curtis
January 26, 2019

The RCMP have charged a Kingston youth with terrorism, saying the person - who can not be identified - allegedly tried to persuade someone to plant a bomb.

"These restrictions are meant to protect young persons from the stigma of the criminal-justice system and foster their rehabilitation and reintegration into society", Brian Gray, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney-General said in an e-mailed statement. A second adult male has also been arrested but has not been charged.

"Obviously good communication to be able to assist in getting the word out about what's going on and reassuring people in this case that police were able to move quickly to address a threat in a way preserved public safety here in the community", he said.

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Bronek Korczynski, one of the sponsors, told Reuters he worries the arrests could affect perceptions of Muslims and refugees in Canada.

In an interview with the CBC following the arrests, Alzahabi's father, Amin Alzahabi, said his son would not "do anything against any human, humanity".

Alzahabi said his family, originally from Syria, has been living in Canada since July 2017, following time spent in Kuwait from 2008 to 2017.

He said Canada's official threat level would remain at "medium" where it's been since 2014.

Before Alzahabi's release, Lambertucci said police could hold the man without charging him for 24 hours before they had to release him.

"There was an attack planned", Michael LeSage, a chief superintendent with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told reporters at a press conference in Kingston on Friday.

"It just goes to show the amount of collaboration that exists out there, and every once in a while we get to see the results of the work that they do". The released man and his family came to Canada as refugees after being privately sponsored by a group of churches in Kingston about two years ago.

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"This is just a real body blow", he said.

"We did remove that substance from the residence and we did detonate that substance", Lambertucci said.

Alzahabi said he and his family came to Canada to be "liberated" and to avoid being sent back to Syria - which is still in the throes of a multi-year bloody civil war - by the Kuwaiti government.

"It was very much an opportunity to say, 'What can the community do to make sure that this doesn't become an incident that unjustifiably targets any ethnic group, national group, religious group?' " he said.

Korczynski said the younger Alzahabi had both a younger and older sibling.

In carrying out the arrests, the RCMP were supported by both Kingston police and Federal Bureau of Investigation officers with support from the Ontario Provincial Police, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

"I've seen some of the media reports, but speaking with police myself, I have not received any official confirmation on the identity of the individual involved, so there's really nothing I can say specifically to that", he said.

Goodale said the operation has not changed the country's threat level.

"It is also clear that Canada's refugee screening process needs to be seriously examined", Scheer said.

"We've recently learned of several examples of risky individuals entering the country due in part to lax screening procedures", Scheer said.

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