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On Monday, the minor faced a total of five charges, including a second charge related to facilitating a terrorist activity and two new charges relating to explosives

The RCMP recently warned of a “concerning trend” of online violent extremism and terrorism in Canada, namely among young people. Photo by Postmedia/File

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OTTAWA – The Ottawa youth facing five terrorism- and explosive-related charges targeting Jewish people allegedly possessed bomb-making materials, such as chemicals and metal ball bearings, when he was arrested by the RCMP Friday.

A detailed version of the charges against the minor obtained by National Post also suggests he’s accused of communicating with others in Canada and the United States about bomb-making in order to “facilitate a terrorist activity.”

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The young man, who cannot legally be identified because he is a minor, briefly appeared virtually at the Ottawa courthouse Monday, four days after he was arrested by the RCMP and charged with two terrorism-related offences targeting “Jewish persons.”

Three more charges were subsequently laid against him, including two related to explosives, and an additional terrorism charge, bringing the total to five.

According to the detailed charge counts, police allegedly discovered “explosive substances” such as acetone, an unidentified oxidizer and metal ball bearings in the young man’s possession on Dec. 15, the day he was arrested.

The discovery led to the filing of a third terrorism charge for “knowingly” facilitating a terrorist activity by owning the bomb-making materials, as well as well as a fourth and a fifth charge related to explosives.

The youth is alleged to have illegally possessed explosive substances and done so with the intent of endangering life.

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Those charges are on top of the first two, for allegedly facilitating a terrorist attack by “communicating instructional material related to an explosive substance” and knowingly instructing a person “to carry out a terrorist activity against Jewish persons”.

The charge sheet alleges that the youth carried out those activities on Oct. 24.

Saturday, Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe said on X (formerly Twitter) that police had averted a planned terror attack against the city’s Jewish community.

“I was shocked to learn the details,” Sutcliffe wrote on social media.

“I’m grateful and relieved that in this case, through strong investigative work, the RCMP and Ottawa Police were able to avert this planned event before it happened.”

National security expert and Carleton associate professor Stephanie Carvin said in an interview that the youth allegedly owning those materials, which are common in makeshift bombs designed to spread shrapnel, speaks to the intention of causing damage.

“It is not easy to build an effective bomb,” she said. “Based on what we know it’s hard to say what his capability is, if any. But certainly in terms of causing damage, causing casualties, an IED (improvised explosive device) with that kind of shrapnel might still be devastating, even if built by an amateur.”

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She also said that the allegations that the youth may have communicated with others in the United States strongly suggests American authorities may have tipped off their Canadian counterparts about his plans.

“It is extremely likely, if this individual was communicating with another individual in the United States, that the Americans may have picked this up and passed the tip on the RCMP because that’s very common,” she said.

In a statement Saturday, the RCMP warned of a “concerning trend” of online violent extremism and terrorism in Canada, namely among young people.

“Since June 2023, the RCMP has arrested five young persons on terrorism-related offences – either terrorism related charges or laying of information for a Terrorism Offence Peace Bond,” the RCMP said in a news release.

The youth’s father told Global News that he had warned his son to stay clear of extremists and had sent him to consult with an imam.

The outlet also reported that a Facebook page that appeared to belong to the suspect’s father contained several derogatory posts about Jews and Zionists in Arabic, including one that called to get rid of all Israelis.

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Amid the rise of violent extremism and terrorist use of the internet, the RCMP statement asked “adults in positions of authority” including parents, guardians, teachers, and coaches, “to be alert for behaviours of concern which may be linked to violent extremism.”

Jewish and Muslim leaders across Canada have reported an increase in hate-motivated attacks since the terrorist attacks launched by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7, and the subsequent war, including the massive military response by Israel in Gaza.

— With additional reporting by Canadian Press.

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