NEWS

Bomb recipe came from al-Qaida site, court told

Montreal Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL CHERRY pcherry@post­media.com

“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.

COURT FILES

El Mahdi Ja­mali and Sabrine Djer­mane were ar­rested in April 2015 on ter­ror­ism-re­lated charges.

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