- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2006

From combined dispatches

TORONTO — Canadian authorities decided to move quickly against a suspected homegrown terror ring after undercover Mounties delivered bomb-making materials in a sting operation, according to a news report yesterday.

The Toronto Star said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police delivered the 3 tons of ammonium nitrate that authorities reported Saturday had been acquired by a group of Muslims apparently inspired by al Qaeda.

Once the deal was done, police moved in to arrest 17 suspects, the Star said. It added that investigators had learned of the group’s purported plan to build a bomb and then controlled the sale and transport of the fertilizer.

It wasn’t clear how the sale developed, and there was no indication that police might have altered the fertilizer to make it unusable in a bomb.

Canadian Muslims expressed fear of a backlash after vandals smashed 30 windows of a Toronto mosque and damaged nearby cars after the arrests of 17 accused of planning bomb attacks and suspected of sympathizing with al Qaeda.

The vandals struck overnight at the West End mosque, a police official said yesterday. A second official said he had no information on any link between the incident and the arrests, which began late Friday.

About five cars in a parking lot next to the mosque also had their windows broken, said Secretary Ameer Ali of the International Muslims Organization of Toronto, which houses the mosque. He said the two-story mosque sees about 500 worshippers daily .

Authorities have disclosed few details of the purported plot and refused to discuss the Star’s story.

Police officers are saying privately that Web surfing and e-mail among the suspects initially led to the investigation beginning in 2004, something that Canada’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Wilson, alluded to in an interview with CNN’s “Late Edition.”

“My understanding of it is that the Internet played a very important part of it. Whether there was a direct inspiration or an indirect inspiration, the Internet was, according to the police, a very important part of their activities,” Mr. Wilson said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Canadian operation was “obviously a great success for the Canadians. They’re to be congratulated for it.”

Police arrested 12 adults, ages 19 to 43, and five persons younger than 18 Friday and Saturday on terrorism charges, including plotting attacks with explosives on Canadian targets. The suspects are citizens or residents of Canada, and police said they had trained together.

A government official close to the investigation said more warrants were pending and more arrests were expected, possibly this week.

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