EDMONTON – Court documents allege an Alberta teen charged with terror-related offences wanted to travel overseas to fight with Islamic State militants.
The 17-year-old boy was taken into custody Thursday in Beaumont, a bedroom community south of Edmonton.
RCMP have laid two charges: one of attempting to leave the country to participate in a terrorist group and another of attempting to leave the country to commit a terrorist activity, “namely murder.”
Court documents say the alleged offences involve the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and are to have taken place on or about March 8 at or near Beaumont, Edmonton, Calgary “and elsewhere.”
The teen cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
He was denied bail Thursday by a justice of the peace, who cited safety and protection of the public.
The teen is to appear in youth court April 9.
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RCMP spokesman Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer said the force’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team handled the arrest. The team was established last year to streamline the collection, sharing and analysis of intelligence on potential threats to national security.
He would not provide more details about the investigation.
“While it may be difficult for parents to come forward to the police, it is important for families and communities to contact police as soon as they suspect that an individual is being radicalized,” said Pfleiderer.
Several Canadian young people have already travelled to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State. Ottawa’s national security report said at the start of 2014 that more than 130 individuals were abroad and suspected of terror-related activities.
In September, the Canadian Somali Congress of Western Canada wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper warning that young people in Alberta were being recruited to join ISIL.
Jeremy Laurin, press secretary for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, said the case is a reminder of why the government’s proposed anti-terror legislation is needed.
Bill C-51, introduced in January, would give police broader powers and allow them to detain terror suspects and give new powers to Canada’s spy agency.
Opposition parties have criticized the bill for being too broad and vague and point out that there are already some powers in place that Canada’s security agencies aren’t using.