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Canadian Charges Detail Plan to Attack Parliament

Mohammed Abdelhaleem, the father of suspect Shareef Abdelhaleem, arrives at the courthouse in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
Simon Hayter
Getty Images
Mohammed Abdelhaleem, the father of suspect Shareef Abdelhaleem, arrives at the courthouse in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Ten men accused of plotting bombings in major Canadian cities appear in court near Toronto. The men, all Muslims, were arrested Friday in Canada's largest counterterrorism operation. According to charges made public in court, at least one of the suspects plotted to storm Canada's parliament and behead officials.

Speaking outside the courthouse in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, defense attorney Gary Batasar said that his client, Steven Vikash Chand, is accused of plotting an attack on Canada's Parliament and planning to take over media outlets, including the studios of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"The allegations as you've reported are quite serious, including storming and bombing of various buildings," Batasar said. "There's an allegation apparently that my client personally indicated that he wanted to behead the prime minister of Canada."

According to press reports citing official sources, the group also planned to blow up a major building in Canada and go on a shooting rampage in a public place.

Canadian officials say they moved to arrest the suspects Friday after they acquired three tons of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used to make a powerful explosive. Two of the men are already serving jail terms for attempting to smuggle firearms from the United States into Canada.

The court postponed bail hearings until later in the month.

Mike McDonell, deputy commissioner for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the Associated Press that more arrests are likely. Meanwhile, officials in the United States stepped up the alert level along the Canadian border.

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Brian Mann is NPR's first national addiction correspondent. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and around the world.
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