Suspects arrested in Via train terror plot linked to al-Qaida in Iran: RCMP

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TORONTO, Cananda - RCMP say two suspects arrested in an alleged terror attack against a Via Rail passenger train had "direction and guidance" from al-Qaida elements in Iran.

The suspects — identified as Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, — were arrested this morning in Montreal and Toronto.

They are not Canadian citizens.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia says that while the suspects had the capacity and intent to carry out an attack, there was no imminent threat to the general public, rail employees, train passengers or infrastructure.

The RCMP investigation — named Project SMOOTH — was part of a cross-border operation involving Canadian law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The alleged plotters are charged with 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.

Organizations: RCMP, Al-Qaida, Via Rail FBI U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Geographic location: Iran, TORONTO, Montreal

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