- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2006

U.S. and Canadian officials are investigating links between Canadian terror suspects accused of plotting to bomb government buildings and Islamic militants in the United States and other countries.

Investigators are looking at links between two Atlanta men arrested in March after they videotaped the U.S. Capitol and at least three other Washington locations and two Canadians identified as part of a terrorist ring. The Canadians were arrested last year trying to smuggle weapons into Canada.

Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, and Syed Haris Ahmed, 21, both U.S. citizens and Georgia residents, were arrested and later indicted after they traveled to Canada to meet with at least three other targets of an ongoing FBI terrorism investigation in March 2005.

An FBI affidavit said they discussed “strategic locations in the United States suitable for a terrorist strike.”

The affidavit said Ahmed, charged with giving material support of terrorism, and Sadequee, accused of making materially false statements in connection with an ongoing federal terrorism investigation, talked about attacks on oil refineries and military bases and planned to travel to Pakistan to get military training at a terrorist camp, which authorities said Ahmed then tried to do.

U.S. authorities have established that the two men also had been in contact via computer with some of the 17 terror suspects arrested Saturday in Canada.

During a hearing in their case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Kavanagh said Sadequee and Ahmed made videos in Washington of the U.S. Capitol, the Masonic Temple, the World Bank and a fuel storage facility and were preparing to send them to “overseas brothers.” She said Sadequee gave Ahmed information on how to receive military-style training in Pakistan.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko acknowledged over the weekend that some of the Canadian suspects had been in “contact” with the two Georgia men but said there was “no current outstanding threat to any targets on U.S. soil emanating from this case.”

“There is preliminary indication that some of the Canadian subjects may have had limited contact with the two people recently arrested from Georgia,” Mr. Kolko said.

Yesterday, he noted that the bureau had been working with Canadian authorities on the suspected terrorist cell for “some time” and had established “a working relationship with the Canadians in the prevention of terrorism.”

Authorities said Canadian investigators have focused on Mohammed Dirie, 22, and Yasin Abdi Mohamed, 24, both Somali immigrants living in Kingston, Ontario, who were taken into custody Aug. 13 on weapons charges at the Peace Bridge between Canada and Buffalo, N.Y. Stopped by Canadian Border Services inspectors, they later were convicted on weapons violations and are serving two-year prison sentences in Canada.

Listed among the 17 charged with being members of the Canadian terrorist organization, Dirie and Mohamed attempted to smuggle three handguns and 200 rounds of ammunition into Canada from the United States.

“This investigation is not over,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. “We will be following every investigative lead we have to its conclusion, and anybody that aided, facilitated or participated in this terrorist event will be arrested.”

The Canadians are accused in a scheme to buy 3,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate for bombs, which were to be used against buildings and landmarks in that country. The amount is three times what was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 persons.

Twelve of those charged are accused of participating in a terrorist group, including Dirie and Mohamed, who were also named on charges of importing weapons and ammunition for the purpose of terrorist activity. Another man, Fahim Ahmad, 21, an Afghan national living in Canada, also was named on weapons charges. Dirie and Mohamed reportedly were driving a car rented by Ahmad at the time of their arrest last year.

Nine of the men are facing charges of receiving training from a terrorist group, and four others are accused of providing training. Six are also charged with intending to cause an explosion causing serious bodily harm or death.

Five youths have also been charged in connection with the plot, but details of their charges were not released.

U.S. authorities have been concerned for some time about the possibility of terrorists coming into the United States from Canada.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) first reported in December 2002 that al Qaeda terrorists had established “sleeper cells” in Canada whose members had the “capability and conviction” to support terrorist activities all across North America. The agency called the cells secretive, operational and loyal to Osama bin Laden, named as the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

Fawzia Sheikh in Toronto contributed this report.

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