Cross-Border Operation Foils Alleged Plot to Blow up Rail Line

Mike O'Brien

Two men were arrested on Monday after a year-long investigation involving Canadian law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The suspects are accused of plotting to attack a railroad that is thought to be between Toronto and New York City.

The two accused are Tunisian national Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, from Toronto. They have been charged with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack and "conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group."

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The men are expected to appear at the Old City Hall courthouse in Toronto on Tuesday morning.

They had been under surveillance in Quebec and southern Ontario. Intelligence sources say there is no connection with the Boston marathon bombers.

However police said the two accused were getting "direction and guidance" from al-Qaeda elements in Iran. There was no information to suggest the attacks were state sponsored, police said.

They also said there is no apparent link tie to two Ontario former school friends who joined al Qaeda and died earlier this year while helping to stage a bloody attack on an Algerian gas refinery, reports.

Sources say the alleged plot disrupted by Monday's arrests was potentially more dangerous than the bombings and hostage-takings planned bythe Toronto 18.

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Members of the group were arrested in 2006 and accused of planning to plant bombs at various Canadian targets. Eleven men were eventually convicted of taking part on the plot.

Border security issues will be discussed in full at IDGA’s Border Management Southwest event next month. For full details, go to