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Toronto trial examining alleged train attack plot

courtroom sketch artist

The Toronto trial of two men accused of a terrorist plot to derail a passenger train between New York City and Toronto is now in its second week. 

Much of the testimony from the prosecution, so far, has dealt with undercover evidence from U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies. The latest testimony suggests the two defendants were just waiting for orders from their contacts overseas to carry out the attacks.

Raed Jasser and Chiheb Esseghaier, both in their 30s, face multiple terror-related charges in the alleged plot.

Among the first to testify for the prosecution at the start of the trial was an undercover FBI agent who posed as a wealth American businessman with radical views. He secretly recorded several conversations between them.
That evidence is crucial to the prosecution's case. In one recording, Jasser is heard saying Islam is a very powerful weapon and in the right hands it can bulldoze the world. Their alleged long-term plot was to derail a passenger train somewhere between New York City and Toronto.

The court also heard chilling new details about plans to use a sniper attack against Canadians leaders, including former Toronto mayor Rob Ford. There was also alleged talk of Esseghaier taking a reconnaissance trip on a train.
The FBI agent testified that some of the conversations were chilling, that Esseghaier had justified the plan because of Canadian and American attacks in Muslim lands that have led to civilians deaths.
In the latest testimony the court heard that the two were alleged to have said that once their plans were in place, all they needed was the green light from their brothers overseas.
Both men have pleaded not guilty.
Jasser is a permanent resident of Palestinian descent who lived in Toronto. Esseghaier is a Tunisian who was doing his Ph.D in Quebec.
The trial is expected to last about another seven weeks.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.