Parliament Hill said to be target of terrorism attack
Published Friday, August 27, 2010 4:41PM EDT Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 2:32AM EDT
Leaks emerging from a terrorism case in Ottawa include reports that Parliament Hill was among the targets selected for an alleged homemade-bomb attack.
The news came on the same day that a suspect -- identified as an Ottawa resident by Crown prosecutor David McCurcher -- was arrested by RCMP officers Friday morning.
The arrest came after a search warrant was executed earlier in the day, the RCMP added in a statement.
"The RCMP does not provide details of any criminal investigation nor do we release the name(s) of an individual under investigation or arrest as a result of the criminal investigation unless criminal charges have been laid in court," part of the statement read.
This is the third arrest of an Ottawa resident in relation to the case.
On Thursday, police revealed a year-long investigation called Project Samosa led to the arrests of Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, Misbahuddin Ahmed, both from Ottawa, and Khurram Syed Sher, from London, Ont.
Sher makes court apperance Friday
Friday morning, Sher -- a former Canadian Idol participant -- appeared in court in Ottawa to face accusations that he participated in the allged plot. He was charged with conspiracy to facilitate terrorist activity.
"He's okay," said Sher's lawyer, Anser Farooq. "I mean, he's just been brought over, separated from his family. We hope to address the main concern, which is getting him into court."
Police say they are seeking three more people with ties to Iran, Dubai and Afghanistan. A publication ban is now in place on all new evidence gathered in the investigation.
Attacks were likely in three months: RCMP
Three of the men, all Canadian citizens, were arrested because of police fears that they may start sending money to terrorists in Afghanistan.
In a press conference Thursday, RCMP accused the three men arrested at that time of participating in a terror group that "posed a real and serious threat to the citizens of the National Capital Region and Canada's national security," according to Chief Supt. Serge Therriault.
Charges laid against the three men on Thursday say the conspiracy took place in several countries: Ottawa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Dubai and Iran.
Attacks would have taken place in about three months, they alleged.
Raids at west-end Ottawa residences
Police also said they found "apparent" terrorist literature while doing searches at several Ottawa residences, as well as about 50 circuit boards. The raids took place on Wednesday and occupied RCMP attention for most of the day.
On Esterlawn Private in Carlingwood, police were on hand from 6:30 that morning, shocking neighbours who said the couple who lived at the house were a devout Muslim couple, with a baby, who kept to themselves.
A neighbour who lives next door told CTV Ottawa she often heard the couple chanting in prayer.
"That's the only thing I've ever heard," said the woman, who would only identify herself as Louise.
Another raid took place on Woodridge Crescent, in the Bayshore area.
Suspects held professional jobs
Ahmed was employed at the Ottawa Hospital at the time of his arrest. In the months leading up to it, investigators from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service approached his employer and advised them he was under a probe.
That information was kept secret from Ahmed before the arrest.
Sher, a pathologist, made his awkward 2008 appearance on Canadian Idol as a joke, his friends told media. He performed Avril Lavigne's 'Complicated' for judges while stiffly dancing.
Alizadeh studied electrical engineering technology and English as an additional language at Winnipeg's Red River College.
Former CSIS agent Michel Juneau-Katsuya said these professional backgrounds are not surprising, in contrast to popular belief that terrorism arises out of being poor or disenfranchised.
"Unfortunately, this is sort of a textbook copy of the profile that usually we would expect," Juneau-Katsuya told CTV's Canada AM during a telephone interview from Ottawa on Friday morning.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Kate Eggins, and files from CTV.ca and The Canadian Press