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Canada Arrests Suspect in Bomb Plot

June 23, 2002|From Associated Press

MONTREAL -- Canadian anti-terrorism police have arrested a man suspected of helping militants who were planning to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

Adel Tobbichi, 34, was arrested Friday in Montreal as the result of an extradition request from the Netherlands, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Richard Huard said. Police also searched his Montreal home.

Dutch police allege that Tobbichi, of Algerian origin, altered passports and other documents and provided them to militants planning to bomb the embassy. Huard said officials were unsure whether Tobbichi was a Canadian citizen.

Dutch authorities already are holding two French citizens they believe were involved in the bombing plot.

Prosecutors in Rotterdam, Netherlands, have said they have tapes of wiretaps linking the pair, Jerome Courtailler and Mohammed Berkous, both 27, to the designated suicide bomber, Nizar Trabelsi, who is under arrest in Belgium.

The tapes prove that Courtailler and Berkous had spoken to Trabelsi about arranging passports and a safe house for him in the Netherlands, Dutch prosecutor Theo D'Anjou said this month.

Tobbichi's arrest was made by Canada's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, which was set up in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Tobbichi was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for an arraignment that will start the extradition process, officials said.

Huard said there was no information yet connecting Tobbichi with the Montreal-based terrorist cell that helped Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam in a plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999. Ressam was arrested when he tried to enter the United States from Canada and was later convicted.

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