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Al-Qaida remains top threat to Canada: report


09:21, June 14, 2013

OTTAWA, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Al-Qaida and its affiliates remain the leading terrorist threat to Canadians, showed the country's first annual public report on terrorism released Thursday.

"Home-grown violent extremists have been involved in attempts to recruit supporters, raise funds or acquire other forms of support," it said.

In late April, the country's national law-enforcement agency arrested a Tunisian and a Palestinian on terrorism charges after they allegedly planned to derail a passenger train on a New York- Toronto route in a plot police said was guided by "al-Qaida elements" in Iran.

Meanwhile, state-sponsored terrorism "remains an ongoing concern," it said.

"Syria is emerging as a major theater of operations for terrorists," which will "heighten the terrorist threat to Canada, Canadians and Canadian interests," said the report, which flows from a counter-terrorism strategy the Canadian government unveiled last year.

In 2012, Canada singled out both Syria and Iran as "state supporters" of terrorism, and passed legislation that allows victims of terrorism to sue -- in a Canadian court -- foreign states that support terrorists dating back to 1985.

Canada has also added Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' s Qods Force as a "terrorist entity," along with such other organizations as al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Also in the day, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said at a press conference that the government didn't want Canada to get a reputation as a "soft touch " for terrorism.

Canadians have been involved in deadly attacks in Algeria and Bulgaria linked to al-Qaida and the militant group, Hezbollah, respectively, he said.

This year, the Canadian Parliament passed the Combating Terrorism Act, which creates new offenses for leaving or attempting to leave Canada to commit a terrorist act, enhance the ability of a terrorist group to commit a terrorist act or participate in a terrorist-training camp that carry maximum prison terms ranging from 10 to 14 years.

According to the Canadian government, 36 Canadians were killed in terrorist incidents and 158 Canadian Forces members have lost their lives during Canada's mission in Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States.

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