RCMP arrest two for terrorism offences
Two Ottawa residents have been arrested in relation to terrorism offences, the RCMP announced Wednesday, adding that more arrests are expected.
The arrests took place when police swooped in on two separate west-end residences after an apparent year-long investigation.
The Mounties issued a press release Wednesday announcing the early-morning arrests, but did not provide any further information on the identity of the suspects or the allegations.
"Search warrants are being executed in order to secure additional evidence," the tersely worded press release stated.
First, police raided a townhouse in a quiet neighbourhood at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. Officers spent most of the morning removing computer equipment from inside the home.
RCMP also took photos of an automobile, which was later towed away. The car is registered to Misbahuddin Ahmed, a 36-year-old x-ray technician at The Ottawa Hospital. Officials there said he began working at the hospital two years ago after arriving from Montreal.
Neighbour Janice Burtt told reporters at the scene that the couple who live in the home are in their early 40s or "possibly younger." She added that the couple moved into the "quiet neighbourhood" more than six months ago.
The Canadian Press spoke to a neighbour who said that the couple may have a baby.
Matthew Weiler, who lives next door to the raided home, said that eight or nine police cruisers were on the scene during the arrest. Weiler added that the male neighbour had a beard and his wife appeared in public wearing a veil.
Meanwhile, RCMP also raided a sixth-floor apartment in a west-end highrise Wednesday morning, but they have released very little information about the second raid.
It is expected that the RCMP will release more details during a press conference scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
CTV's Roger Smith reported that the RCMP were assisted by officers from both CSIS and the Ottawa Police Service.
"So far, the police are giving no details on the names of those arrested," he said.
However, Smith said the arrests may be linked to a suspected bomb plot that was in a "very formative stage."
He added that police have been tracking the suspects for about a year. The arrests were made out of concern that a suspect was about to leave the country.
"One of the suspects that was arrested was apparently planning to travel abroad," Smith reported.
There are also reports that the suspects had travelled to al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan.
Smith tempered those reports, saying that rumours may continue to surface in the hours before police release additional information.
The arrests come mere weeks after the so-called Toronto 18 case wrapped up with two final guilty convictions.
The Toronto 18 case centred upon Canadian citizens who had plotted to mount terror attacks on Canadian soil.
The arrests also follow recent comments by CSIS Director Dick Fadden, who predicted that more homegrown terror arrests would be forthcoming.
"We have had very clear evidence in this country that there have been terrorists seeking to do harm. The Toronto 18 are a clear example. We're monitoring a number of other cases in which we think there may be similar circumstances," Fadden told the Commons public safety committee last month.
"I think if Canadians know about this kind of threat they will be inclined to let us know if they find anything that's worrisome."
With files from The Canadian Press and a report from CTV Ottawa