MONTREAL—Police discovered the instructions and ingredients to make a pressure-cooker bomb in one of the homes of a young Montreal couple suspected of planning to flee the country to join Daesh in 2015, according to newly released court documents.
In the case against El Mehdi Jamali and Sabrine Djermane, police searched Jamali’s family home and found duct tape, nails, batteries and superglue they alleged were to be used to make a bomb inside a plastic Dollarama bag, the police affidavit said. In Djermane’s apartment, they allegedly discovered the hand-written instructions to make a bomb identical to the ones used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Eighteen years old at the time, the couple was part of a wave of young Quebec Muslims who disappeared or allegedly tried to leave the country to join the Islamic terrorist group Daesh in early 2015. Like several others, the couple frequented a mosque run by Adil Charkaoui, a Muslim preacher once suspected by the federal government of being an Al-Qaeda sleeper agent.
Now aged 20 and being held in pre-trial custody, Jamali and Djermane are charged with trying to leave Canada to join a terrorist group; possession of explosives; facilitating a terrorist activity; and committing an offence for a terrorist group. The trial is scheduled to begin later this year.
The new details on the case are contained in more than 30 search warrant applications that were partially unsealed Thursday by a Quebec court judge. The affidavits of RCMP investigators outline the evidence which indicates a crime may have been committed. That evidence has not been tested or proven in court.
The RCMP were initially tipped off to the couple’s activities by Djermane’s younger sister, Fatiha, who had attended a conference in Ottawa on the subject of radicalization and believed that she recognized the tell-tale signs in her sister’s behaviour.
The sister told investigators that Djermane had recently moved out of the family home, had cut off old friends and stopped attending her nursing courses at Montreal’s College Maisonneuve.
Jamali had sent a propaganda video to Djermane’s older sister, Rania that was titled “The Doctrine of the Mujahidin.” It featured radical Islamic leaders from Al-Qaeda and Daesh including Osama Bin Laden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to the affidavit.
Both Jamali and Djermane had valid Canadian passports, but had reported them as lost on April 10, 2015.
The RCMP arrested the couple on April 14 and executed the search warrants at an apartment Djermane had begun renting and at the Jamali family home. What they allegedly found kicked off a more urgent phase of the probe.
In Djermane’s apartment, police seized a blue binder with the handwritten recipe for constructing a pressure-cooker bomb as well as a document in Arab titled “Put your trust in Allah” which outlined the afterlife compensation for jihadists who die fighting in defence of the Muslim faith, the affidavit said.
In Jamali’s family home, investigators found the Dollarama bag containing: two nine-volt batteries; four AA batteries; a box of assorted nails; a tube of super glue; and a Dollarama receipt dated Feb. 4, 2015.
After an analysis, police said in the affidavit that the handwritten notes from the binder were “a word-for-word transcription” of the bomb-making instructions in Al-Qaeda’s propaganda magazine, Inspire. Investigators also found evidence that that one of the computers they had seized had been used to search for the word “inspire.”
One search warrant for banking information turned up a $1,142.16 payment to Flight Hub, a travel booking site.
Police also obtained a warrant to search Jamali’s Facebook communications, seized a Playstation 4 console on the suspicion it might have served as a surreptitious mode of communication, and verified the couple’s telephone records, the search warrants reveal.
“After the search warrants of 14 April where elements demonstrated a capacity/knowledge of how to build a bomb, it is important to identify Jamali’s contacts to determine all possible accomplices in the alleged offences,” said one affidavit used to obtain Jamali’s cell phone records.
In Djermane’s caller history, they found that she had contacts with Shayma Senouci, a young girl from Montreal believed to have fled to Syria on Jan. 16, 2015, and is also the subject of a terrorism probe.
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