Washington – One day after US Congress issued a report on the increased involvement of US citizens with ISIS and other terrorist organizations, Canada announced it has arrested a person who returned from the Middle East, believing he has joined ISIS there.
Canadian Security experts said that this increased involvement with ISIS in Canada has become a major concern.
AFP said on Friday that Pamir Hakimzadah, 27, was arrested in Canada and accused of leaving Canada two years ago to join a terrorist organization in the Middle East.
For its part, Toronto Sun Newspaper said that Hakimzadah has been charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with leaving the country on or about Oct. 22, 2014 to join a terrorist group.
That would be the very day that Parliament Hill was attacked and Corp. Nathan Cirillo was murdered by a man who pledged allegiance to ISIS and just two days after another follower ran down Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
According to the newspaper, Hakimzadah traveled to Turkey on his way to Syria, but for unknown reasons he returned to Canada with news that he was arrested in Turkey and returned to his homeland by the Turkish government.
No information was provided on how many months he spent in the Middle East or whether he crossed the Syrian borders and joined ISIS or any other terrorist group.
Hakimzadah has been a resident of the Toronto South detention center since his arrest last June on three charges, including assault causing bodily harm and uttering a threat to cause bodily harm stemming from an incident a year earlier against his sister, Saiema Hakimzadah.
“When the RCMP went calling at his jail cell Wednesday, they added a far different count: Leaving Canada to participate in the activity of a terrorist group — otherwise known as becoming a terror tourist,” said the newspaper.
The 2016 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat To Canada found 180 people with Canadian connections are suspected of travelling abroad to fight for the terror group.
“Canadian extremist travelers represent a small but notable part of the broader international problem,” the Public Safety report said.
Last March, Turkish authorities intercepted and detained two GTA men suspected of being would-be combatants.
The RCMP were notified and waiting when the pair was returned to Toronto.
In a different matter, Cases of homegrown extremism in the United States continue to rise, according to the House Homeland Security’s latest Terror Threat Snapshot.
The committee, led by Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, released its monthly report on Wednesday, which noted that of the 204 homegrown “extremists cases” in the US since 9/11, 36 occurred in the last 12 months.
“We must remain clear-eyed about the threats we face,” McCaul said.
“We must intensify our efforts to deny these terrorists safe havens abroad while more aggressively countering extremist radicalization efforts here in the United States,” McCaul added.
The report also cited information from former Michael Morell, deputy director of the CIA, who said there is also an “expected growing threat” to US airports from both ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Morell urged the Transportation Security Administration to remain alert, calling airports the “center of the target zone.”