Hamas terror in Canada

toronto | Canadian Jewish groups are calling for greater government vigilance against terrorist groups after a Palestinian-born Canadian reportedly told Israeli interrogators that Hamas recruited him to carry out attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets in North America.

The ease with which Jamal Akal, 23, contacted Hamas and received military training from the Palestinian terrorist group indicates “that the government has not taken all the necessary measures to uproot terrorist cells operating in this country, and that we should be treating such issues as training in al-Qaida terrorist camps and training with Hamas killers much more seriously than we have in the past,” said Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of B’nai Brith Canada.

B’nai Brith has urged the Canadian government to “take all necessary measures to prevent people who train with terrorists and who advocate terrorism from finding safe haven in Canada,” Dimant said.

Akal, who has lived in Canada since 1999, reportedly was visiting the Gaza Strip in October when he met with Ahmed Wahabe, a senior Hamas terrorist who instructed him how to conduct sniper and bomb attacks on Jewish homes and cars.

“New York is an easy place to find Jews,” Wahabe told him, according to information released Monday by Israel’s Government Press Office.

Akal also was ordered to attempt a sniper attack against a senior Israeli official who would be visiting the United States. He received training in the use of an M-16 and was told to buy a similar weapon in the United States.

Representatives of Canada’s Arab community reacted with deep skepticism to Akal’s confession, alleging that he was tortured and noting that Hamas until now has not operated outside the Middle East.

The Israeli Embassy in Ottawa called the allegations of torture “totally unfounded and false.”

A former student of the University of Windsor in Ontario, Akal lives in the city of Windsor, which is near the U.S. city of Detroit. His family and lawyer claim that he went to Israel solely for the purpose of finding a wife.

Akal’s arrest “prevented a terrorist attack,” the Israeli statement claimed.

Some fear Akal’s reported recruitment indicates that Hamas is expanding its terrorist war against Israel to include targets outside the Middle East.

“Hamas has operated in Jordan, and we know that it has sympathizers and operatives all over the world,” Ofir Gendelman, a spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa said. “But this is the first time that we know of that Hamas is going to carry out terrorist attacks in North America.”