Toronto 18 co-leader pleads guilty in plot to carry out terror attacks in Canada

One of the ringleaders of the so-called Toronto 18 has pleaded guilty in a plot to carry out terrorist attacks on Canadian targets.

BRAMPTON, Ont. — One of the ringleaders of the so-called Toronto 18 has pleaded guilty in a plot to carry out terrorist attacks on Canadian targets.

A Brampton, Ont., court is hearing Zakaria Amara played a leadership role in staging a terrorist training camp and in planning three, one-tonne vehicle bombs to be detonated in downtown Toronto and other locations.

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts — knowingly participating in a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion for the benefit of a terrorist group.

Justice Bruce Durno entered convictions against Amara on those two counts before proceeding to sentencing.

An agreed statement of facts is now being read into the court record.

Amara was among 18 people arrested in a plot to cause bloodshed and panic in Canada, including bombing RCMP headquarters and nuclear-power plants and attacking Parliament.

The arrests made international headlines when police swooped down on the group in the summer of 2006.

Four of the group members, including Amara, have pleaded guilty and one was convicted after a trial.

Charges were stayed or dropped against seven people and six men still face trial.

Last Friday, Ali Dirie was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to taking part in the homegrown terrorist group. The 26-year-old’s sentence amounts to two years after time served is factored.

In September, Saad Gaya, 21, pleaded guilty to intending to cause an explosion for the benefit of a terrorist group and is to be sentenced next month.

Gaya and Saad Khalid were arrested while unloading bags labelled “ammonium nitrate” from a truck driven by an undercover police officer.

Khalid, 23, pleaded guilty in May and was handed a 14-year prison sentence. He was given seven years credit for pre-trial custody and can apply for parole after less than 2 1/2 years.

Last year, a judge found Nishanthan Yogakrishnan, 21, guilty of participating in, and contributing to, a terrorist group.

Although 17 at the time of the offences, he was tried as a youth but received an adult sentence of 2 1/2 years before being released in May in light of his time served before trial.

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