Fourth suspect arrested in Canadian terror plot
By Michel Comte (AFP) – 4 hours ago
OTTAWA — A fourth member of an alleged terror cell was arrested in Canada on Friday, as friends and relatives of another accused challenged police statements that he is a radicalized jihadist.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RMCP) said it executed a search warrant in Ottawa and arrested one unnamed individual "as part of our standard operating procedures in the course of the search."
No charges were filed against the suspect.
Three others have been arrested in police raids on their suburban homes in Ottawa and London, Ontario this week and charged under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act with conspiracy, possessing materials for explosives and making property or financial services available to a terrorist group.
RMCP superintendent Serge Therriault told reporters on Thursday the accused were part of a "domestic terrorist group operating in Canada."
One of the suspects is also believed to be a member of an unnamed terror group tied to the war in Afghanistan.
Khurram Sher, a 28-year-old born and raised in Montreal stood out among the alleged conspirators as an unlikely suspect, friends and relatives said.
His peers described him as a gifted doctor of Pakistani heritage who graduated from one of Canada's most prestigious medical schools.
"I cannot believe that Khurram is a terrorist," shouted a headline in La Presse, quoting a former neighbor who attended his wedding.
"Doctor's arrest brings disbelief," commented the Montreal Gazette.
"My God, (it's) impossible. He's not that type of person. You must be joking," Sher's uncle, Rafat Syed, told the National Post.
Sher's father-in-law Sajid Shukoor, a doctor living in Windsor, Ontario, told the newspaper: "We thought he was a good guy... He's a very loving and good father."
Paul Collins, director of the hospital where Sher worked, described his arrest as "very surreal."
"Nobody saw this coming at all," he told the daily.
Before completing his pathology residency in June, Sher lived in a modest suburban duplex with his wife and three young children, his mother and his sister, according to The Globe and Mail. His father died two years ago.
Close friends and relatives said Sher was an avid ball hockey player and joker, sometimes putting on an exaggerated accent and an oversized pakul hat to rouse reactions.
"He's a one-man wrecking crew in terms of scoring goals," said Nauman Abbasi, a friend.
In 2008, Sher auditioned for the television talent show "Canadian Idol."
Dressed in a traditional shalwar kameez and pakul hat, he appeared in a YouTube video of the audition performing Michael Jackson's famed moonwalk and a robot dance for the judges.
He also butchered Avril Lavigne's hit song "Complicated," prompting this posting on a Facebook page: "I for one am glad that he is attempting to show the nation that 'moslims' are not all extremists."
His co-accused Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, worked as an X-ray technician at an Ottawa hospital and lived with his wife and child. But neighbors said he was much less extroverted than Sher.
Little is known about Hiva Alizadeh, 30, the purported mastermind of the terror cell, except that he immigrated to Canada from Iran to live with an uncle, and once worked at a halal meat shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Alizadeh also studied English and electrical engineering at the city's Red River College, but dropped out and moved to Ottawa in 2008, according to local media.
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