Hezbollah May Attack Canadian Jews


Source: The Gazette (Montreal)
Adrian Humphreys and Stewart Bell, Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, June 19


TORONTO - Disturbing "chatter" picked up by intelligence agencies about attacks against Jewish targets by Canadian-linked supporters of Hezbollah has prompted an alert to Canada's Jewish community urging added caution.

Anti-terrorism officials, however, are officially downplaying a startling U.S. news report that says the banned terrorist organization, which is backed by Iran, has activated four suspected "sleeper cells" in Canada and that a known Hezbollah weapons expert was followed here and seen at a firing range south of Toronto.

An ABC News report Thursday said three U.S. law enforcement agencies confirmed being briefed on the developments.

"Suspected Hezbollah operatives have conducted recent surveillance on the Israeli embassy in Ottawa, Canada, and on several synagogues in Toronto, according to the officials," said the ABC report.

The report said one of the cells is known as "Rashedan" and that members have been told to send their family members home to Lebanon.

When asked on Tuesday about the Hezbollah threats, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day confirmed that Canadian authorities were keeping an eye on the organization, which is listed an outlawed terrorist group under Canadian law.

"It's something that's watched," Day said.

On Thursday, Melisa Leclerc, a spokeswoman for Day, declined to be more specific.

"As you can appreciate, the minister cannot comment on operations that Canada's security agencies may or may not be undertaking," she said.

"The government of Canada remains vigilant in our efforts to (prevent) a terrorist act both at home and abroad.

"Hezbollah is a listed entity. It is a crime to knowingly participate in certain activities of this organization," said Leclerc.

CSIS, Canada's spy agency, referred calls on the matter to Day's office.

RCMP Supt. Jamie Jagoe, one of the federal police force's top national security officers in Ontario, took issue with details of ABC's report.

"We open investigations and routinely conduct investigations relative to the national security of Canada. We treat every one seriously and conduct complete and thorough investigations," he said.

"At the present time, there is no known specific threat to any specific location in the city of Toronto or anything like that. We have many ongoing investigations involving listed terrorist organizations. I can't get into specifics, but I can say we have lots of ongoing investigations."

Special Agent Richard Kolko of the Federal Bureau of Investigation expressed a similar view of the report.

"Hezbollah remains a threat to security in different parts of the world. The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces conduct investigations into different groups that potentially pose a threat to the U.S. or our interests overseas; however, the FBI and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) have no specific intelligence about any group or so-called sleeper cells planning an attack."

That leaves Canada's Jewish community dealing with mixed messages.

Bernie Farber, chief executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said an alert was being sent to Jewish cultural institutions and synagogues.

"We will ensure that everyone is aware and remind everyone that you never let your guard down because we, as a community, just can't do that," Farber said.

----------------------
Also, from Arutz Sheva:

Canada on Alert for Hizbullah Attacks against Jews
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Jews in Canada and Latin America are on the hit list of Hizbullah terrorist cells, according to an ABC television news report, quoting American and Canadian intelligence officials. They said that the terrorist party, headed by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, is still seeking revenge for the attack last February on Imad Muginiyeh. Israel has denied involvement n the attack on the Hizbullah mastermind, who was assassinated in a car bomb blast in Damascus.

ABC said Hizbullah agents have been conducting surveillance on the Israeli embassy in Ottawa and on Toronto synagogues.

"They want to kill as many people as they can, they want it to be a big splash," former American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) intelligence officer Bob Baer told the television network. "They cannot have an operation fail, and I don't think they will. They're the A-team of terrorism." He said he met with Hizbullah leaders in Beirut last month.

Baer added that the United States is not a prime target because Iran, which gives orders to Hizbullah, is afraid it would give American President George W. Bush an excuse to attack Iran's nuclear facility under construction.

Hizbullah has been openly active in Canada through billboard campaigns and rallies. A think tank report two years stated that Hizbullah "activities in Canada include fundraising ... collection and the procurement of equipment."

Canadian Jewish Congress chief executive Bernie Farber told Canadian news agencies, "What we have been told is that there is nothing specific to Canada... Yes, there is chatter. We don't have anything to suggest there is any significant change in terms of imminence. There are some mixed messages but the bottom line is: we're aware, our security is aware and we will keep an eye out."



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