Toronto: The Canadian Parliament was reportedly on the hit-list of the al Qaeda-linked terror plot unearthed in the capital Ottawa on Wednesday with the arrest of two suspects.
Another suspect was held on Thursday and one more on Friday, taking the number of arrests to four. Three overseas collaborators remain at large in the plot which security agencies have traced to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Dubai.
While 30-year-old Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, who is of Iranian origin, and 26-year-old Misbahuddin Ahmed, whose claim of being an Indian has not been confirmed yet, were charged with the plot on Thursday, 28-year-old Khuram Khan was charged with abetment in the conspiracy on Friday.
Khan, who is of Pakistani origin, had participated in the Canadian Idol contest in 2008. Charges against the fourth suspect arrested on Friday have not been laid yet.
After a year-long surveillance by more than 100 officers, police mounted `Project Samosa` to swoop on the suspects and seize 50 circuit boards to be used to remotely detonated bombs.
Police said the alleged plotters were "months" away from carrying out the first terror attack on Canadian soil. Attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan were also part of the alleged plot.
Initial interrogations of the suspects have hinted that the country`s Parliament was on their hit list.
"They wanted to hit Parliament Hill and there was discussion of going against public transportation in Montreal ... (and) they were not excluding the possibility to some major (Ottawa transit) hubs," security sources were quoted as saying in the daily National Post.
The ringleader of the alleged plot used Ottawa Public Library computers to communicate with other members of the terror cell to "avoid detection and surveillance”, the sources said.
Even as the terror plot continues to shock Canadians, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has asked people to "be vigilant" against terrorist threats.
"We need co-operation from various community groups" as security agencies alone cannot detect terrorists, he said.
This is the second terror plot unearthed in Canada after the Toronto-18 plot smashed in 2006 with the arrest of 18 Muslim youths, mostly from Pakistan. Eleven of them were convicted.