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April 22, 2013

Terror plot may have had local target

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

U.S. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, said in a statement praising Canadian authorities for the arrests, that the attack was intended "to cause significant loss of human life including New Yorkers."

Charges against the two men include conspiring to carry out an attack and murder people in association with a terrorist group. Police said the men are not Canadian citizens and had been in Canada a "significant amount of time," but declined to say where they were from or why they were in the country.

Muhammad Robert Heft, who runs an outreach organization for Islamic converts, and Hussein Hamdani, a lawyer and longtime advocate in the Muslim community, said one of the suspects is Tunisian and the other is from the United Arab Emirates. Heft and Hamdani were part of a group of Muslim community leaders who were briefed by the RCMP ahead of Monday's announcement.

Authorities were tipped off by members of the community of one of the suspects, Best said. Hamdani said they were told by police that the tip came from the Muslim community and the police said they were very thankful to Muslim community leaders for that.

"It was sort of a thank you moment," Hamdani said. "This tip, this lead, came from the Muslim community. But for the Muslim community we would not be talking about an arrest today. This is evidence and proof that the Canadian Muslim community, rather than a community that should be seen as suspect, is in fact partners for peace and here is the proof of it."

Hamdani said he did not know if anybody in the room for the briefing knew the suspects. He called the al-Qaida connection to the Shiite theocracy of Iran "very strange.

He noted that police said al-Qaida didn't provide material support and that it was more guidance.

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