Canadian Authorities Identify Terrorist Presence
Posted: July 12, 2005
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) says that at least 50 terrorist groups have an active presence in Canada.
According to a CSIS intelligence report, recently declassified and released to a Toronto newspaper under Canada's Access to Information legislation, "There is a direct threat to Canada and Canadian interests from Al Qaeda and related groups."
Over the past few years, Al Qaeda has identified Canada as a target, most recently in a 2004 Internet posting, in which the terrorist group called Canada the fifth most important target after the United States, Britain, Spain and Australia.
Among the other terrorist groups raising money, acquiring weapons, "manipulating immigrant communities" and facilitating travel to and from other countries, are Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Hamas, according to the CSIS.
The Irish Republican Army, Tamil Tigers, whose political headquarters is based in a Toronto suburb, and Kurdistan Workers Party also have supporters in Canada, according to the CSIS
The CSIS intelligence report notes that Abdul Rahman Jabarah, accused of bombing a Western housing complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2003, grew up in Ontario and joined Al Qaeda after graduating from Catholic high school (Jabarah was killed during a fight with Saudi police a few weeks after the attack). Muslim converts, according to the CSIS, "are highly prized by terrorist groups for their familiarity with the West and relative ease at moving through Western society."
Last month, Canada marked the 20th anniversary of the Air India tragedy, which, until the September 11 attacks, was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on a commercial airliner. In that incident, the Canadian government blamed Sikh terrorists for blowing up an airliner over Ireland; over three hundred people were killed, mostly Canadian.