Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
Canadian police and intelligence services arrested two suspects Monday who allegedly planned to derail a passenger rail train in Greater Toronto in what the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) called a "major terrorist attack."
The RCMP said at an afternoon news conference that Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto, had received "direction and "guidance" from "al-Qaeda elements" in Iran, but there is no indication they were "state sponsored."
Neither is a Canadian citizen. The RCMP would not identify their nationalities or say how long they had been in the country.
Media reported the men are Tunisian.
The alleged plot to derail a VIA Rail train was not connected to the Boston Marathon terror attack. RCMP Chief Supt. Jennifer Strachans said that the suspects had watched trains and railways around Toronto and that an attack was not imminent. She said the public was never in any danger.
The RCMP said the plot involved "a specific route but not a specific train," but officials would not say which route. Law enforcement sources told media outlets that it was the Toronto to New York route.
Sources told the CBC that the men had been under surveillance for more than a year in
The cross-border investigation was coordinated with the U.S. department of Homeland security and the FBI.
The two men are expected to appear in court Tuesday. They are charged with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack and "conspiring to murder persons unknownn for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group."