Bomb recipe came from al-Qaida site, court told
“Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom.”
The rhyming, chilling headline was part of an article that Sabrine Djermane, 21, and El Mahdi Jamali, 20, are believed to have used as a reference while they were allegedly making preparations to build a pressure cooker bomb that could have killed up to 10 people.
The article was from an issue of an online publication called Inspire that was published by the terrorist group al-Qaida. The byline on the article was “the AQ Chief.”
While carrying out search warrants in their April 2015 investigation into Djermane and Jamali, the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) — a division of the RCMP — found a handwritten version of the guidelines to build the bomb. Initially, INSET was investigating concerns, expressed by Djermane’s friends and relatives, that the couple were planning to leave Canada to join ISIL in Syria. Evidence of their alleged plans to build a pressure cooker bomb was discovered when search warrants were carried out.
The person who copied from the article apparently was only interested in jotting down the instructions and not the article itself. For example, the article includes an introductory sentence that reads: “The pressure cooker is the most effective method.” The sentence is unnecessary to assemble the actual bomb. Whoever made the handwritten copy began to jot down the sentence, but then crossed it out before continuing.
On Monday, RCMP explosives expert Sgt. Sylvain Fiset told the jury the instructions published in Inspire could be used to assemble a bomb using a common pressure cooker that can be purchased by anyone at a store that sells kitchen appliances.
Besides the handwritten instructions, INSET also found many of the ingredients for the bomb inside a bag from a Dollarama store. A receipt inside the bag revealed that the common household items were purchased together on a day close to when Djermane and Jamali were arrested in April 2015.
“Buying these ingredients does not raise suspicion,” the author of the Inspire article wrote. “It is easily disposed of if the enemy searches your home. Sniffing dogs are not trained to recognize them as bomb-making ingredients.”
The explosives expert said five of the many ingredients required to assemble the bomb were not found when the search warrants were carried out, including coffee filters and a clock. While being cross-examined by a defence attorney, Fiset said he found no evidence to suggest the couple had begun assembling the homemade bomb.
“In one or two days, the bomb could be ready to kill at least 10 people,” the article noted. The author also addressed the reason why someone would want to assemble such a bomb. It quotes from a section of the Qur’an, and the author wrote: “(I)t is because every Muslim is required to defend his religion and nation.”
Fiset said there are some things about the pressure cooker bomb that he is unable to testify about in open court “for security reasons.”
“But, yes, it is true that in one or two days it could be ready to kill,” the expert said, adding it is difficult to estimate how many people it could kill. “It depends on the position of the bomb.”
INSET did not find a pressure cooker inside the condo on Aird Ave. the couple had begun renting on April 1, 2015. A brand new pressure cooker, still sealed in the box it came with, was found at the home of Djermane’s parents stuffed away inside a crowded closet. A used pressure cooker was found at the residence of Jamali’s parents.
The couple are charged with attempting to leave Canada to commit an act that would contribute to the activities of a terrorist group, fabricating or being in control of an explosive substance with the intention to put lives in danger, facilitating a terrorist activity and committing a crime for the benefit of a terrorist group.
The trial will resume on Tuesday.
El Mahdi Jamali and Sabrine Djermane were arrested in April 2015 on terrorism-related charges.