‘Toronto 18’ ringleader sentenced

BRAMPTON, Ontario – The ringleader of a homegrown terror plot involving 18 people that planned to set off truck bombs in front of Canada’s main stock exchange and two’government buildings was given a life sentence Monday.

Zakaria Amara, 24,’pleaded guilty in October. He acknowledged being a leader of the so-called ‘Toronto 18’plot to set off bombs outside Toronto’s Stock Exchange, a building housing Canada’s spy agency and a military base. The goal was to scare Canada into removing its troops from Afghanistan.

The 2006 arrests of Amara and 17 others made international headlines and’heightened fears in a country where many people thought they were relatively immune from terrorist strikes.

Judge Bruce Durno said Monday that the attack would have been the most horrific crime in Canada’s history if the plot had been successful.

‘What this case revealed was spine-chilling,’ Durno said. ‘The potential for loss of life existed on a scale never before seen in Canada.’

The prosecution sought life imprisonment, while Amara’s defense asked for a sentence of between 18 and 20 years.