• 22:25
  • Sunday ,23 January 2011

Iraqi-Canadian arrested for alleged role in terror cell

By-National Post

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Sunday ,23 January 2011

Iraqi-Canadian arrested for alleged role in terror cell

On April 10, 2009, a Tunisian suicide bomber drove a dump truck through an Iraqi police checkpoint and detonated a bomb that killed five American soldiers and left a crater 18-metres deep.

In Edmonton on Wednesday, RCMP officers arrested a 38-year-old Alberta man for his alleged role in the multinational terrorist group that carried out the bombing at Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq.
Faruq Khalil Muhammad Isa was taken into custody without incident at about 9 a.m. at the request of U.S. authorities. The Canadian of Iraqi origin was expected to make a court appearance in Edmonton on Thursday.
Almost nothing is revealed about Mr. Muhammad Isa in the 25-page criminal complaint unsealed by the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday, but he discusses his motives in a 2010 phone conversation intercepted by police.
“Our motive should always be doing good for others. But if we see harm coming from someone, we warn them, and if they don’t listen, we kill them. Islam came for the good of humanity. So if someone doesn’t like good, we fight them, like those dog Americans.”
The arrest followed a joint FBI-RCMP investigation into a “Tunisian foreign-fighter facilitation network” that sent Tunisians to Iraq through Libya to carry out suicide attacks against U.S. and coalition forces.
Tipped off by the FBI, the RCMP counter-terrorism unit in Edmonton conducted an “intensive investigation,” said Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud, who heads the National Security Criminal Investigations section.
“Basically we went full out to assist them,” he said.
The U.S. wants Canada to extradite Mr. Muhammad Isa, also known as Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, to New York to stand trial on charges of conspiring to kill Americans abroad and providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy.
According to the FBI complaint, Mr. Muhammad Isa not only provided support to the group, he encouraged his sister to die while carrying out an attack against Americans and discussed his desire to travel to Iraq to conduct a suicide attack.
“He informed his mother in November 2009, that his greatest wish was to die a martyr and be greeted by 70 virgins in paradise,” reads the Justice Department press release. “In a conversation with an Iraq-based leader of the terrorist network in January 2010, the defendant volunteered to travel to Iraq, take up arms against the Americans, and subsequently conduct a suicide mission.”
But the charges do not suggest that he ever made it to Iraq. Instead he allegedly supported the group from Canada. “Even if I can’t work over there, I can work here,” he allegedly told the leader of the group. “I can get some business going here to benefit us.”
The criminal complaint alleges that four prospective suicide bombers left Tunisia in 2008. Mr. Muhammad Isa allegedly advised a fifth Tunisian seeking to join them to: “Do not forget to keep reading Koran and repeat the famous prayers on the way until you meet with God.” But the man was arrested as he tried to leave Tunisia.
The group’s first attack was the March 31, 2009 suicide bombing of a police complex in Mosul, Iraq. Seven Iraqis were killed and 17 injured. Ten days later, another of the Tunisian bombers struck a U.S. convoy. Five American troops died.
“Today’s arrest demonstrates that we have not forgotten that sacrifice and will continue to use every available means to bring to justice all those who are responsible,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.
Mr. Muhammad Isa faces a possible life sentence.
There was never any direct threat to Canadians, Assistant Comm. Michaud said. “It’s a threat abroad. It speaks to the different types of issues that we need to deal with. We have talked a lot in the past around radicalization and the threat here in Canada. This is a demonstration around Canadians helping or wanting to do bad stuff abroad, so it’s a different twist to our normal narrative.”