Canadian terror plot leader pleads guilty

Known as what could have been Canada's 9/11, the plot was unearthed in June 2006 with the arrest of 18 Muslim men, mostly Pakistanis, from the Toronto area. The plotters had planned to storm and blow up the nation's parliament in Ottawa, take leaders hostage and behead the prime minister.

They had also planned to drive explosive-laden trucks into the offices of the Canadian spy agency, the Toronto Stock Exchange and a military base here. Aiming to take revenge for Canada's participation in the Afghan mission, the plotters had undergone training in a winter camp far away from Toronto in December 2005. But the plot was uncovered with the help of a mole who was paid more than $4 million by police.

One of the main leaders of the plot, Zakaria Amara, 24, was jailed for life in February. Others have been given light sentences and let off. Seven have charges stayed against them.

The plot ring leader Fahim Ahmad, 25, Steven Chand, 25, and Asad Ansari, 29, went on trial last month, with the prosecution charging with them with diabolic plans to cripple Canada. In a major development in the case on Monday, Fahim Ahmad, the ringleader, pleaded guilty to plotting against his adopted land.

Called a 'time bomb waiting to go off,' the 25-year-old terrorist admitted he wanted to blow up civilian, nuclear and military targets and take leaders hostage to force Canada to pull out of Afghanistan.

The court was told how Ahmad, as a terrorist leader, procured firearms for his group, arranged training camps and prepared videos to fire his band as well as jihadists abroad.

The court heard how his men were arrested at the border trying to smuggle guns from the US, and how he revealed to the police mole his plans to hit nuclear and military bases.

In a video prepared by the terrorist leader at a training camp for his group, he is heard saying, "Victory is near . . . Our mission is great, whether we get arrested, tortured or killed. . . Rome has to be defeated.''

Though two other accused still remain to be convicted, the guilty plea by the ring leader almost brings the curtain down on what could have been the worst-ever terror attack on Canadian soil.

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