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Concerns raised over rail security following arrests in Canada

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Ontario government wants to beef up security on passenger trains following the arrests of two men accused of planning a terror attack. The train that was allegedly targeted runs through western New York.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Train tracks at Amtrak Station on Exchange Street in downtown Buffalo

The Maple Leaf stops at Amtrak stations in Depew, downtown Buffalo, and Niagara Falls and crosses the border via the Whirlpool Bridge. The two men are being held without bail after making their first court appearance Tuesday.

Credit Wikimedia Commons
A VIA Rail train like this one was allegedly the target of a planned attack.

The FBI's acting Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel says the attack was allegedly planned for Toronto.

"At this time we know of no current threat against the Buffalo region. If that changes, we will work with our partners here within the United States and Canada to move on those threats," Frankel says.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul says law enforcement on both sides of the border have an exceptional relationship and will continue working together.

"We've always been aware here on the Northern border that what sometimes happens in Canada affects us in the United States and vice versa," Hochul says. 

Police say this is the first known al-Qaida-directed plot in Canada. Rep. Brian Higgins, a Homeland Security Committee member and Ranking member of the Counterterrorism Intelligence Committee, says with several high-profile targets in the region, including the Peace Bridge and the Power Project, he plans to push for more security.

"Hezbollah, which is a Shia organization that is bent on the destruction of Israel and the United States, acts as a proxy for Syria, Iran, and Venezuela. There is a Hezbollah presence in North America, including Toronto," Higgins says.

According to police in Canada, the men had been under surveillance since August and the plot is not related the recent bombings in Boston.