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RCMP make national security arrest in Calgary

“Alberta RCMP can confirm that an individual was arrested in Calgary today in relation to a national security file,” said RCMP spokesperson Fraser Logan.
“Alberta RCMP can confirm that an individual was arrested in Calgary today in relation to a national security file,” said RCMP spokesperson Fraser Logan. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES / Lee Brown

A suspect has been arrested in Calgary following a national security investigation, the RCMP said on Tuesday.

Alberta RCMP can confirm that an individual was arrested in Calgary today in relation to a national security file,” said RCMP spokesperson Fraser Logan.

Police would not comment further. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) also said it was unable to comment.

“The PPSC cannot speak to a matter unless or until charges are laid. We have no information to provide at this time,” said spokesperson Nathalie Houle.

Read more: Edmonton woman ‘committed’ to ISIS ‘facilitated extremist activities,’ secret documents allege

A variety of violent extremist groups have established a presence in Alberta, ranging from the far-right to the so-called Islamic State.

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Starting in 2012, Alberta-based extremists began making their way to Syria and Iraq to join the conflicts there, and many ended up members of ISIS.

They included Calgary residents such as Farah Shirdon, who faced terrorism charges in Canada but was killed in a 2015 airstrike in Mosul, Iraq, according to the U.S. military.

Edmonton residents were also active in ISIS, some as fighters who posted threats on social media, but the bulk have likely been killed or were captured and remain imprisoned in northeast Syria.

Read more: Canadian jihadi Farah Mohamed Shirdon killed in Iraq airstrike in 2015: U.S. military

 

Relative to the rest of Canada, Alberta has been disproportionately affected by trends involving Al Qaeda, its affiliates and splinter groups (AQAS), such as the foreign fighter phenomenon, the Organization for the Prevention of Violence wrote in a report last year.

“Roughly 30-40 foreign fighters associated with AQAS have left Alberta for various combat zones since 2012. A majority of these fighters are deceased and roughly 10 per cent have returned to Alberta from conflict zones abroad,” the report said.

The flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq has declined substantially since Kurdish forces captured the last pocket of ISIS-held land and took thousands of prisoners.

But the report said the 2017 Edmonton van attack showed such groups still had “an ability to inspire violent extremism locally.”

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Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca