Canada

Canada-U.S. border security tightened in terrorist alert

Canadian authorities have tightened security at border crossings and airports, but serious worries persist that the federal government is not doing enough to head off terrorist attacks.

The security alert in both Canada and the U.S. comes after the arrest last week of Algerian Ahmed Ressam. He's charged with trying to smuggle a trunkload of bomb-making material into Washington state from British Columbia.

There was also the arrest last Sunday at the Canada-Vermont border of a man and woman with possible links to an international terrorist group.

The woman, Lucia Garofalo, was travelling across the border with a man, Bouabide Chamchi. Prosecutors in Burlington, Vermont said the car the woman was driving was registered to Brahim Mahdi, a member of the Algerian Islamic League.

Court documents say the Algerian Islamic League was founded and is directed by Mourad Dhina. The documents say: "Dhina is reported to be actively involved in the shipment of arms to terrorist organizations." On Wednesday, Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay called U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to discuss the issue.

"The level of co-operation and support in this country is very important and adequate with the United States," MacAulay said.

He denied there is a shortage of law enforcement resources to deal with possible millennium terrorist attacks. Privately, U.S. officials have complained that lax Canadian immigration laws and enforcement have made their job harder.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien says he's not aware of any terrorist threats against specific Canadian targets.

U.S. President Bill Clinton is trying to keep the situation in perspective. He says Americans should go about their holidays and enjoy themselves but, "just be aware of their circumstances, and if they see anything suspicious to report it immediately."

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