Police arrested a man at Toronto's Pearson airport who they said was planning to travel to Somalia to join an al-Qaida-linked Islamist group.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector Keith Finn said Wednesday that Mohamed Hersi, 25, was arrested as he was about to board a plane on Tuesday night. Finn said he was planning to join al-Shabaab. He has been charged with attempting to participate in terrorist activities and counseling another person to do the same.
Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaida-linked militia trying to overthrow Somalia's transitional government. It has recruited Westerners for its cause.
Police said several Somalian youths from the Toronto area are suspected to have traveled to Somalia to join al-Shabaab. This is the first arrest in Canada.
Police Supt. Tom Fitzgerald said domestic radicalization and recruitment is an ongoing concern and he thanked Somalian community members who played an integral role in the six month investigation.
The U.S. government charged 14 people last year with being participants in "a deadly pipeline" to Somalia that routed money and fighters from the United States to the militant group al-Shabaab. Of the 14 charged, 10 are people from Minnesota who allegedly left to join al-Shabaab. The FBI has said al-Shabaab tries to radicalize and recruit U.S. citizens and others to train and fight with them.
Roughly 20 men from the United States _ all but one of Somali descent _ left Minnesota from December 2007 through October 2009 to join al-Shabaab, officials have said.
Police said the suspect in Toronto was arrested without incident as he was about to board a plane bound for Cairo, transiting through London, to then go to Somalia. Police said there was nothing in the investigation to suggest there was a threat to Canadians in Canada.
Hersi has a court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.