Three individuals were arrested on terrorism-related charges in Canada this week, in an operation dubbed “Project Samosa”, which focussed on home-grown terror cells.

Announcing the arrests on Thursday, Serge Therriault of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said, "At this time, investigators have grounds to believe that Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, Misbahuddin Ahmed and Khurram Syed Sher, formed part of a terrorist group, as it is defined in the criminal code of Canada, and were participating in terrorist activity in relation to that group within Canada."

Of the three, Mr. Ahmed was reportedly born in India. An RMCP officer was quoted by the Toronto Star as saying that the men were "months" away from exploding bombs on Canadian soil. Sean May, defence attorney for the suspects, said that the charges they faced were conspiracy, committing an offence for a terrorist group and providing or making available property for a terrorist organisation.

Mr. Therriault described the plans that the suspects were making to execute a terror attack, saying that they were in possession of "schematics, videos, drawings, instructions, books and electrical components designed specifically for the construction of improvised explosive devices".

Further, he said, the RCMP had evidence to support the fact that a member of the group had obtained training on how to construct explosive devices and investigators had seized more than 50 electronic circuit boards, designed specifically to remotely detonate IEDs.

International links

Citing international links that the men had, officials said that there were grounds to believe that Mr. Alizadeh was "a member of, and remains in contact with, a terrorist groups with links to the conflict in Afghanistan".

They noted that part of the decision to make the arrests at this time was to prevent the suspect from providing financial support to terrorist counterparts for the purchase of weapons, which might "in turn be used against coalition forces and our troops".

Touching upon the reality of terror threats in Canada Raymond Boisvert, of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said, "The threat of terrorism is very real and Canada is certainly not immune to attacks. This country has been identified on several occasions as a legitimate target by various individuals who espouse a violent Islamist ideology."

In an odd twist to the story, reports surfaced that Mr. Sher had entered and auditioned for the Canadian Idol show on television, although, according to reports "the video now circulating suggests he was not taking a future career in entertainment too seriously".