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Canada paid millions to unravel Pak terror plot

world Updated: Jan 12, 2010 12:41 IST

Canadian agencies paid millions of dollars to a Muslim agent to unravel an al-Qaeda terror plot four years ago. Most plotters were of Pakistani origin and came from the Toronto suburb of Mississauga which has the biggest concentration of Muslims in the country.

Known as the Toronto-18 terror plot, the case was uncovered in June 2006 with the arrest of 18 Toronto-area Muslims who wanted to storm the Canadian parliament, and take Prime Minister Stephen Harper and others hostage and behead him. The plotters had also planned to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange and offices of the Canadian spy agency.

To carry out the plot, they had undergone training in firearms at a rural camp in December 2005. The ringleader of the plot, Zakaria Amara, who had planned to run to Pakistan after carrying out the plot, was convicted last October. The plot was uncovered thanks to a local Muslim youth Shaher Elsohemy who got $4.1million from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to act as a co-conspirator.

Four of the plotters have been convicted so far.

Testifying Monday in the trial of another accused Shareef Abdelhaleem, the paid agent said the accused was asked to acquire chemicals by their ringleader at a meeting on April 8, 2006. The huge amount money paid to Elsohemy by the Canadian police to act as their agent is likely to be raised in court, said defence lawyer William Naylor.

"A $4.1-million pay-off for this is pretty steep...It's unprecedented in Canada as far as I understand,'' he said, hinting that the mole might have misguided police for the sole purpose of making money.

But the $4.1 million paid to the Muslim mole compares nothing to $150 million wasted on the Air India trial which ended in no-guilty verdict.