Canadian authorities nabbed a potential terrorist before he could carry out a plot to bomb the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, CTVNews reported Wednesday.
Jhanzab Malik, a Pakistani national holding permanent resident status in Canada, also allegedly planned to attack targets in the city’s financial district as well.
He was arrested on suspicion of “engaging in terrorism and being a danger to national security.” The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is claiming Malik has a “violent and extremist mindset” but has not charged him.
The suspect was ordered to be held on “security grounds” pending deportation following an immigration hearing on Wednesday. He appeared via video link from Lindsay, Ontario; it is not clear why he is being held for deportation rather than being charged under the country’s anti-terror laws.
The CBSA alleged that Malik befriended and attempted to radicalize an undercover RCMP officer; he showed him videos of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) beheading captives. He also claimed to be a friend of American-born Al Qaeda imam Anwar al-Awlaki, killed in Yemen by the U.S. in a 2011 air strike, according to CBC.
Malik originally entered the country on a student visa in 2004 but gained permanent status via his wife’s sponsorship five years later.
The CBSA has been tracking the suspect for some time; in 2013, he was questioned by Canadian border guards and then by intelligence officials at Pearson International Airport upon arrival from Libya, where he said he had been teaching.
Malik also claimed during that questioning to have been visiting Saudi Arabia – but it is now believed he received weapons, landmine and combat training at a terrorist camp in Libya.
The government is working to pass a new anti-terror bill that is expected to put teeth into Canada’s law enforcement abilities. The country is still on high alert following two terror attacks that took the lives of two Canadian soldiers.