RCMP officers were making inquiries in an eastern Toronto neighbourhood on Monday in apparent connection with an investigation into an alleged plot by two men to attack a Via Rail passenger train.
The RCMP revealed on Monday afternoon that an "extensive and complex criminal investigation" had culminated in the arrest of men from the Toronto and Montreal areas, whom police allege wanted to derail a passenger train.
At a news conference, senior RCMP officials also alleged that the two men were receiving support and direction from "al-Qaeda elements" who are based in Iran.
"Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or seriously injured," RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia told reporters in Toronto on Monday afternoon.
The two accused — Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal and Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto — face charges that the RCMP say include conspiring to carry out an attack against, and conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.
Tomorrow, the men are due to appear in a Toronto court for a bail hearing.
The RCMP gave few details about the accused, though they indicated that neither man was a Canadian citizen.
During the Monday afternoon press conference, the RCMP said that while they believed the accused had "the intent and capacity" to carry out attacks, the public did not face any imminent risks in advance of the men’s arrest.
When asked what search warrants had revealed to police, Chief Supt. Jennifer Strachan said that information was not available because the searches were still ongoing.
Hours later, RCMP officers could be seen in an eastern Toronto neighbourhood, near Victoria Park Avenue and Finch Avenue East, where two homes were taped off and a large RCMP truck was parked nearby.
Also Monday, several Toronto media organizations published images of RCMP officers escorting a man in handcuffs off a Pilatus PC-12 plane that landed at Buttonville airport, just north of the city.
CTV News identified the man being led off the plane as the Montreal suspect.