“Toronto 18” Terrorist Plotter Receives a 14-year Sentence

Saad Khalid, 23, who pleaded guilty in the so-called Toronto 18 conspiracy, was credited with seven years for time in pretrial custody. He will spend a maximum of seven more years in prison. Khalid can apply for parole in two years and four months. Justice Bruce Durno called terrorism “the most vile form of criminal conduct” and said while Khalid was not the prime mover behind the bomb plot, he had nonetheless, played a significant role.

Khalid was caught in a police sting on June 2, 2006, when hundreds of police swept across Toronto to round up more than a dozen young Muslim men. He was caught unloading boxes marked “ammonium nitrate” from the back of a truck and later admitted he knew the fertilizer was intended to be used to construct truck bombs to be detonated in the downtown core. He pleaded guilty in May 2009.

Khalid was a target of an RCMP undercover investigation called Project Osage, Canada’s most high-profile counter-terrorism operation since the 9/11 attacks. Eighteen suspects were arrested but charges against seven were eventually stayed. Nine adults are scheduled to go on trial early next year. A fund established to pay for Khalid’s education following his release has raised $63,000.

Rotterdam Truck Driver Discovers Stowaways

Six stowaways from Iraq and Afghanistan have been discovered in a truck by police in Rotterdam. The driver of the truck contacted police after hearing noises following a cargo pickup in the port of Callais, France. The stowaways, all between the ages of 16 and 23, have been turned over to the Alien Police.

Bavarian Cueneyt Ciftci is Germany’s first suicide bomber

A clerical worker was named yesterday as Germany’s first suicide bomber and blamed for the deaths of two American soldiers in Afghanistan. Cueneyt Ciftci, 28, who was born in Bavaria to a family of Turkish immigrants, is believed to have driven a pick-up truck laden with explosives into a US guard post on March 3. An Uzbek terror group, the Islamic Jihadist Union (IJU), claimed responsibility. In the chaotic aftermath of the explosion, insurgents raked the Americans with gunfire and killed 60 men, the group claimed, adding that: He was a brave Turk who came from Germany and exchanged his life of luxury for paradise. The US denied the hugely inflated casualty figure. For a week or so both the Germans and the Americans discounted the claims that the bomber was Ciftci. But then a video clip of the Bavarian, clearly recognisable to his neighbours, turned up. It showed the bearded, smiling man brandishing a pistol and pointing one finger as if to Heaven. German police are tracing his position in a network that seems to lead back to radical Bavarian mosques and to a group arrested last September for preparing explosives to bomb Frankfurt airport. Roger Boyes reports.

Al-Qaeda linked cell arrested in France

French authories held five men suspected of providing logistical support to al-Qaeda to the group Islamic North Africa, were rounded up near the Normandy city of Rouen. Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for twin truck bombings of the U.N offices on December 11t that killed at least 37 people. Police seized computers and searched the men’s homes, and police report that the men had been under surveillance. There was nothing to suggest that the five men had any connection to the recent suicide bombings in Algeria. Three other men who were detained were later released, and police added that the remaining detained men were not suspected of planning attacks in France. The men however, are accused of providing computer and telecommunication material to Al-Qaeda branch members in North Africa.

30 illegal Indian immigrants caught in French Alps

Thirty illegal Indian immigrants crossing the French Alps were caught traveling in inhuman conditions in a small truck, said Michel Drezen, head of the border police in France’s Haute-Savoie region. Aged from 16-30, most of the immigrants were from the northern Indian state of Punjab. They had each paid about $14,500 to be transported to Belgium, but were discovered in a routine border crossing check.

Euro Mosques Meet Opposition

PARIS – Though Islam is the continent’s second religion, Muslims across Europe are facing campaigns from far-right groups and some church leaders to have stately mosques. “The desire of Muslims to build a house of worship means they want to feel at home and live in harmony with their religion in a society they have accepted as theirs,” German Muslim leader Bekir Alboga told Reuters on Monday, August 6. Muslims across Europe, who have long prayed in garages and old factories, are aspiring to have grand mosques. In Germany, a plan by the Turkish Islamic Union (DITIB) to build a grand mosque in Cologne has met opposition on claims that it would be too big for a city housing one of the most imposing Gothic cathedrals in the Christian world. Leading the anti-mosque campaign is Pro Cologne, a far-right organization which has held five seats in Cologne’s city council since 2004. A mosque project in Pankow, an eastern Berlin area, sparked violent clashes with neo-Nazi groups with a truck being torched at the construction site.