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Testimony continues today at Via Rail terror plot trial in Toronto

Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier both face multiple charges in alleged Via Rail plot


 
Chiheb Esseghaier is led off a plane by an RCMP officer at Buttonville Airport north of Toronto Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (Chris Young/CP)

Chiheb Esseghaier is led off a plane by an RCMP officer at Buttonville Airport north of Toronto Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (Chris Young/CP)

TORONTO – An undercover FBI officer who gained the trust of two men accused of planning a terrorist attack on a train travelling between Canada and the U.S. is telling their trial how he first came to learn of their plot.

While travelling from Montreal to Toronto with one man to meet the other, he says he was told the pair had a plan “to derail a commuter train from New York to Toronto.”

Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier both face multiple charges in the alleged Via Rail plot.

The undercover officer — whose recorded conversations with the pair form crucial evidence in the case — says Esseghaier told him his “training overseas with the mujahedeen” had motivated the plot.

He also says Esseghaier told him of another idea he had to recruit a Muslim chef to poison troops on an army base.

The officer says all the plans were an effort to “send a message to the Western world to remove themselves from the occupation overseas of Muslim lands.”

The Crown has alleged Jaser and Esseghaier were motivated by Islamic extremism and spent months plotting to murder as many people as they could.

Crown lawyer Croft Michaelson told court Monday that Esseghaier travelled to Iran in early 2012 and met with people who were “carrying out Jihad for the sake of Allah.”

Michaelson said Esseghaier returned to Canada intent on establishing a terrorist cell to carry out terrorist acts in Canada.

Jaser, he said, got involved with Esseghaier and wanted to “conduct multiple missions so people in Canada would realize they would not be safe until they left the lands overseas.”


 

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