The two men accused of planning an attack on a Canada-U.S. passenger train considered former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford an “easy” assassination target, a Toronto jury was told Wednesday.
Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser are currently on trial and face multiple terrorism-related charges in relation to an alleged plot to derail a Via Rail train running between New York and Toronto.
Both men have entered not-guilty pleas.
Secret audio recordings of the two suspects made by an undercover FBI agent was played to the court on the third day of trial.
The agent had spent months gaining access and earning the two men’s trust. The recording was made while the three of them were walking through a quiet residential neighbourhood.
“We want this whole city, the whole country to burn,'' Jaser is heard saying. “Everyone is a target.”
The two men were allegedly planning an attack in retaliation to the actions of Canada’s military in Muslim countries.
At one point in the conversation, Jaser is heard talking about an alleged plan to kill Canadian politicians because they are seemingly more accessible than their American counterparts.
“Canada is not the U.S. ... They feel safe,” Jaser is heard saying. “We have lots of MPs, MPPs...the mayor of Toronto...he takes the subway.”
Ford told City News he was shocked by the revelation that he was a potential target for assassination, calling the news “disturbing” and “unexpected.”
“I’ve never hurt anyone… It really bothers me. I’ve got a young family. But it’s not the first time I’ve been threatened. But nobody’s gonna stop me from doing my job,” he said.
Esseghaier and Jaser were arrested in April 2013.
With files from The Canadian Press
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