Saturday, June 3, 2006; Posted: 10:49 a.m. EDT (14:49 GMT)
TORONTO, Ontario (CNN) -- Canadian police on Saturday said they have prevented a major al Qaeda-inspired terror plot to attack targets in southern Ontario.
Twelve adults and five young people were arrested, authorities said.
"This group took steps to acquire three tons of ammonium nitrate and other components necessary to create explosive devices," said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell in a statement.
"To put this in context, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people took one ton of ammonium nitrate."
The detained suspects are all men, Canadian residents "from a variety of backgrounds" and followers of a "dangerous ideology inspired by al Qaeda," said Luc Portelance, assistant director of operations for Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in a news conference.
The targets were all in Toronto, CNN's Jeanne Meserve reported at least one source as telling her.
:gasp: But who would ever want to hurt Canadians? (Other than me, I mean) They're like the pipping plovers of the animal world, small and helpless. Isn't it enough that they try to ingratiate themselves to everyone, crying out with their little chirp-chirps of 'Don't hurt us, we're practically neutral!'?
For quite a while now, people have chided Canada for its often lax immigration policy which allows extremist elements to pop over with little or no scrutiny. It's true that prior to 9/11, the US had hardly done a much better job in screening those entering the country but at least that has changed while canada kept dragging its feet. I think that most of the people there figured that any whackjobs would just make their way south to US targets anyway. After all, they had been sensitive and welcoming and chock full of hippie goodness. Why would the terrorists try to hurt them?