Stories For October 2010


They have been responsible for hundreds of deadly acts, ranging from kidnappings, suicide bombings, assassinations and roadside bombs that have killed thousands in their hopes to establish an Islamic emirate in Syria.

Mohamed is among thousands of foreign fighters who travelled to Syria to join a network of insurgent and terrorist groups.

He was counted among the roughly 60 "extremist travellers" the Ministry of Public Safety was aware of who had returned to Canada out of 180 people who had gone abroad and were suspected of engaging in terrorism.

Jabhat-Al-Nusra was believed to have a two-month training program for would-be foreign recruits like Mohamed, including a religious course, military training program and instructions on how to use weapons such as AK-47s and anti-tank missiles.

But federal court records show Mohamed only lasted about a month in Syria before he left members of Jabhat-Al-Nusra at the pleading of his family.

"His trip was cut short because his mother and brother believed Mohamed travelled to Syria. They travelled to Antakya in order to persuade him to come home," according to an agreed statement of facts from his sentencing.

Back in Canada, he resumed his active Twitter profile, using the alias Abu Khalid.

He said he was trying to gather enough cash so he could return to Syria soon. But the longer he remained in Canada, the more paranoid he became about government surveillance.

By July 2015, the RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) began an investigation into his activities. They followed Mohamed for months, until February 2015, when he went on the run from police.

Mohamed withdrew $3,500, took his passport and left his mother's house.

He became homeless, sleeping in mosques and staying up all night.

He was eventually spotted in surveillance photos at a Cambridge Tim Hortons, wrapping his cellphone in tinfoil and removing the battery to avoid detection.

On the morning of March 25, 2016, Mohamed again took to Twitter, celebrating a recent suicide bombing at the airport in Brussels. He tweeted a screenshot of a man with a large gun shooting unarmed people at an airport.

"Where can I get the Brussels airport MOD on Call of Duty?" he wrote.

Hours later, police finally caught up with him. He was arrested in the University of Waterloo's Student Life Centre and taken into custody. , Twitter: @MercerRecord

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