Spy agencies see sharp rise in number of Canadians involved in terrorist activities abroad
Canada’s spy agencies have tracked 180 Canadians who are engaged with terrorist organizations abroad, while another 60 have returned home.
The latest figures mark a significant increase from the findings of the 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Can-ada, which identified about 130 people involved in terror-related activities overseas, including 30 taking an active role with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the Nusra Front in Syria.
“The total number of people overseas involved in threat related activities – and I’m not just talking about Iraq and Syria – is probably around 180,” Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Michel Coulombe told The Globe and Mail after testifying before the House of Commons public safety committee. “In Iraq and Syria, we are probably talking close to 100.”
These people are involved in various activities, including direct combat, training, fundraising to support attacks, promoting radical views and planning terrorist violence.
Mr. Coulombe said about 60 suspected foreign fighters have returned to Canada, although he stressed the numbers keep changing almost daily.
The CSIS director said the greatest danger to this country remains terror suspects who have not managed to leave Canada.
“By talking about the number of people who are overseas, we are not thinking about people who are either prevented from travelling or have no intention of travelling but are here in Canada and are actually involved in threat-related activities,” he said.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said Canadian security agencies are keeping careful tabs on the 60 people who have returned home, even if they do not have enough evidence to charge them with terrorist activities.