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.

Just Posted

Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson hosts 7th annual Toy Run

Bikers jumped on their motorcycles this weekend to help make Christmas better… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP locate drugs during traffic stop

A Rocky Mountain House man is facing charges after Innisfail RCMP located… Continue reading

Expert says acquittal of Alberta parents in boy’s death unlikely to set precedent

CALGARY — A law professor says the acquittal of an Alberta couple… Continue reading

Take Back the Night rally marches through downtown Red Deer

Dozens marched through the city’s downtown chanting, “Red Deer unite, take back… Continue reading

Houston area sees relief, rescues after Imelda leaves 4 dead

HOUSTON — Emergency workers used boats Friday to rescue about 60 residents… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Missing hiker found safe after spending night on North Vancouver mountain

VANCOUVER — Rescue crews have found a missing female hiker safe after… Continue reading

Trudeau was only one in dark makeup at 2001 party but nobody took offence: attendee

VANCOUVER — A man who attended an “Arabian Nights” gala held by… Continue reading

McKenna defends Canada’s climate credibility amid Trudeau controversy

OTTAWA — Liberal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna says Canada still has credibility… Continue reading

Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette trying to “be smart” with head injury

NEW YORK — Blue Jays rookie shortstop Bo Bichette says he’s feeling… Continue reading

Climate activists step up protests in Britain and France

PARIS — Environmental activists in Britain and France stepped up campaigns Saturday… Continue reading

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — A hiker has been found dead in Banff… Continue reading

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May are continuing on the campaign… Continue reading

Most Read