Toronto, Aug. 22 (Reuters): Canadian police arrested 19 men last week in a case that, according to court documents obtained by a newspaper, has eerie parallels to the preparations for the September 11 attacks on the US.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Michele Paradis today confirmed the arrests but declined to offer details.
“We arrested 19 people last Thursday,” Paradis said, adding the operation had involved four police departments from across the greater Toronto area. “They’re all related and it’s all part of what we’re alleging. It has to do with a group taking advantage of a system — the immigration system here in Canada.”
The Toronto Star newspaper said the men were arrested after a “pattern of suspicious behaviour” which featured one man taking flight lessons that took him directly over an Ontario nuclear power plant.
In court documents obtained by the newspaper, the student pilot was described as “unmotivated” and he raised suspicion because he has trained for nearly three years to obtain a commercial pilots licence that normally takes only a year.
“He often brings with him an unknown male as a passenger,” the document read.
The alleged incidents evoke chilling memories of the September 11 attacks, where the suicide hijackers who flew commercial planes into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington took lessons at US flight schools.