19 Jan 2010

Plotter sentenced to life in prison

9:22 pm on 19 January 2010

A court in Canada has sentenced the ringleader of a group of suspected Islamic extremists to life in prison for plotting to bomb the Toronto stock exchange and other targets.

Zacharia Amara, 24, pleaded guilty in October to co-leading an Islamist group dubbed the Toronto 18. He was arrested in 2006.

Ontario judge Bruce Durno said on Monday that Amara had planned the most horrific crime in Canadian history.

The court heard how Amara learned how to make a fertiliser bomb on the internet.

Shortly after his arrest, Canadian police say hundreds of people could have been killed if it had gone off outside Toronto's stock exchange.

The BBC reports the planned truck bombings were part of a wider plot involving a series of attacks in Ontario province.

They included storming the parliament buildings in the capital, Ottawa, and beheading the prime minister.

Earlier on Monday, Saad Gaya, another member of the group, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Of the 18 people arrested in 2006, seven have had their charges dropped. Five are still awaiting the start of their trials.