Terror plot sought to hurt economy

A foiled terror plot targeting the Toronto area sought to destabilize the economy by attacking targets including the Toronto Stock Exchange with three truck bombs set off over several days — possibly starting on Sept. 11, a court heard Monday.

Saad Khalid is seen in this 2004 high school yearbook photo.

BRAMPTON, Ont. — A foiled terror plot targeting the Toronto area sought to destabilize the economy by attacking targets including the Toronto Stock Exchange with three truck bombs set off over several days — possibly starting on Sept. 11, a court heard Monday.

The Superior Court of Justice heard in an agreed statement of facts that one of the alleged co-conspirators wanted the 2006 plot to “screw” Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the government and the military, hoped the attacks would be bigger than the London subway bombings, and believed they would make Canada rethink its involvement in Afghanistan.

He also said he wanted to “detonate the bombs on three consecutive days, rather than simultaneously, because he feels it would have a greater impact on Canada and result in Canadians not leaving their homes due to fear,” according to the statement of facts read by Crown lawyer Croft Michaelson.

The other targets included CSIS headquarters in Toronto and an unspecified military base off Highway 401 between Ottawa and Toronto.

Information gathered by an undercover agent also revealed two of the ringleaders disagreed about whether the bombs should result in the deaths of innocent bystanders, and one planned to leave the country before the explosions were set off.

Expert reports based on an analysis of the plans and materials found in one of the men’s homes said a test of those plans showed that “the blast effect from the bomb was equivalent to 768 kilograms of TNT, and would have caused catastrophic damage to a multi-storey glass and steel frame building 35 metres from the bomb site, as well as killing or causing serous injuries to people in the path of the blast waves and force.”

The account in the agreed statement of facts was read into a court record during a sentencing hearing for Saad Khalid, 22, — the first of the so-called Toronto 18 to enter a guilty plea in relation to the domestic terror plot.

Khalid pleaded guilty to a single count of participating in a terror group “with the intention of causing an explosion or explosions that were likely to cause serious bodily harm or death,” or to damage property.

The charge alleges that Khalid acted with other conspirators, including those who discussed the plot, who cannot be named due to a publication ban.

Khalid’s actual involvement with the plan appears to have been of a more supportive nature, with tasks that included renting a home for the others to work in, moving bags of explosive materials from a van to the warehouse he eventually rented, and driving one of the bomb trucks.

That last task was never completed, since Khalid was arrested while moving the bags — an act captured on video and played for the court.

The court also heard a recording of a message Khalid left for some of the other men, discussing his progress securing the items he was asked to procure, explaining his unavailability on the nights he had soccer practice and games, and apologizing for losing the pager the members of the group used to communicate because “we need to be careful … there is no room for error; this is not a joke.”

Khalid was among 18 people arrested in the Toronto area in the summer of 2006 and charged with several terrorism-related offences following an investigation by CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.

Seven of the accused have since had their charges stayed or dropped.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Security for empty nursing home is pricier than it would have been to knock it down

Provincial taxpayers have now paid more to mothball a former nursing home… Continue reading

Birds move into new wildlife hospital

Medicine River Wildlife Centre to host grand opening this spring

Man accused in Lacombe fatal shooting in court

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Stolen catalytic converters recovered

Innisfail RCMP arrest two suspects

Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home

OTTAWA — A sixth presumptive case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Gary Harris’s generosity helped shape our college, and our city, writes Joel Ward

I was deeply saddened to learn of Gary Harris’s passing. I first… Continue reading

A teen’s perspective: Ordinary Canadians are paying a price for railway blockades

The following is a letter by Alberta teenager Liam Smith to his… Continue reading

Diamond Princess evacuees arrive for quarantine in Canada

OTTAWA — A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have… Continue reading

U.S., Taliban truce takes effect, setting stage for peace deal

ISLAMABAD — A temporary truce between the United States and the Taliban… Continue reading

China, Iran challenges top foreign-policy priorities for Canada, says Champagne

OTTAWA — No one should construe the co-operation between Canada and China… Continue reading

Alice Munro among Nobel prizewinners urging Trudeau to deny oilsands project

Canadian author Alice Munro is among dozens of Nobel prizewinners urging Prime… Continue reading

2010 leader John Furlong urges Vancouver to bid for 2030 Winter Games

While Vancouver celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympic and… Continue reading

Most Read