Shareef Abdelhaleem testified Thursday morning that he purposely positioned himself as the middleman of a potentially deadly terrorist plot because he wanted to learn key details about it in case he decided to sabotage it.
The member of the so-called Toronto 18 said he was as an “outsider”, and not part of the ‘bombing club,’ which he said was made up of mastermind Zakaria Amara and undercover police agent Shaher Elsohemy, who was to supply bomb making material.
The 34-year-old told the Brampton court that he did not agree with Amara’s plan to put metal chips in bombs, so as to maximize casualties, which is why he considered sabotaging the plan.
“Amara wanted to do some outrageous things, put nails and shards and everything else, I was the one who told him not to,” said Abdelhaleem.
“I don’t know what I was going to do, I had no plan… If I heard any of that stupidness about putting shards…. I was going to sabotage it somehow.”
But in order to sabotage the plans, Abdelhaleem said, he needed intimate details about it. That’s why, he explained, he wanted to be present at meetings between Amara and Elsohemy, so he could learn details such as the address of the warehouse where the ammonium nitrate fertilizer was to be delivered.
“I just knew at that point, if I had the address I’d be at an advantage,” Abdelhaleem told the court, arguing he was entrapped by his friend turned police agent. “If I were to intervene, I'd know where the store was.”
The Mississauga man said he even made suggestions about how to store the fertilizer, such as removing it from its original packages and transferring it into garbage bags, placing the bags inside cardboard boxes and stacking them high.
But again, he said that was in the event he decided to derail the bomb plot, perhaps by running a humidifier in the warehouse, which would ruin the fertilizer, making it useless for explosives.
Abdehaleem also testified that he never asked his father for a fatwa, or religious ruling, to justify blowing up buildings in downtown Toronto.
In earlier proceedings, Elsohemy testified that Abdelhaleem had said his father had told him it was Islamically acceptable to launch a terror attack in Canada.
But Abdelhaleem testified that he told Elsohemy, on two occasions, that his father never issued a fatwa, saying he knew his father was against terrorism.
One week ago, Abdelhaleem was found guilty of participating in a 2006 explosives plot to bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Toronto offices of Canada’s spy agency and a military base off Highway 401.
Before a conviction is registered, the judge must rule on whether Abdelhaleem was entrapped.
Abdelhaleem was among 18 people charged in the summer of 2006 with belonging to a cell that organized terrorist training camps and planned to blow up buildings with three tones of ammonium nitrate.
Last week, Amara was sentenced to life in prison.
The hearing continues.