Describing Canada’s terrorism activity as “diverse and constantly evolving,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Tuesday charged three Ottawa men with terrorism-related offenses.
Awso Peshdary, 25; John Maguire, 24; and Khadar Khalib, 23, were charged with conspiracy to facilitate a terrorist act, knowingly participating in the activities of a terror group and counseling a person to knowingly participate in a terrorist activity.
Maguire and Khalib are believed to be fighting with ISIS in Syria or Iraq and were charged in absentia. Peshdary was arrested in Ottawa on Tuesday without incident.
Maguire has been a menacing presence on social media, seen in videos threatening Canada and its allies and boasting of ISIS strength.
Posts on social media in recent weeks have claimed that Maguire died while fighting with ISIS, but Canadian authorities say they have no proof that Maguire on whether he’s dead or alive.
“Through collaborative efforts with our partners, we were able to disrupt an organized network associated with (ISIS). This network was involved in recruiting individuals for terrorism purposes and in sending them into Syria and Iraq for the benefit of this terrorist group,” said James Malizia, an assistant RCMP commissioner, in a statement.
The arrests Tuesday were part of yet another extensive national security criminal investigation, this one named “Project Servant.” It involved the RCMP as well as local and provincial police.
Including those charged Tuesday, Canadian police have now charged six Ottawa men in recent weeks with terrorism related offenses. They say all knew each other and were communicating through social media. It is unclear whether they were part of one cell or operating more loosely.
“These charges along with other terrorism-related arrests within the past few weeks underscore the reality that there are individuals in Canada who become radicalized to violence and who are willing to act upon it,” said Malizia during a news conference in Ottawa.