On Jan. 21, 2019, a 16-year-old Kingston resident disclosed to a contact that he secretly supported the so-called Islamic State.
He also hinted he was about to take action, saying he “may carry out a solo operation in the next few days.”
Three days later, police arrested him for terrorism, but while they had been investigating him for two months, even they were likely surprised by what they found in his bedroom.
Detonators, containers filled with white powders that turned out to be explosives, and diagrams of improvised explosive devices were among the 95 exhibits they seized. It was a bomb lab.
His cellphone listed “churches, night club, public places, sports courts, gardens and parks, crowded places filled with crucifix believers” as possible targets.
The youth, who is originally from Syria and cannot be named because he is a minor, pleaded guilty to four counts of terrorism on Tuesday.
A redacted version of the 37-page statement of facts the accused admitted to was released on Friday, providing a detailed account of the youth’s involvement in ISIS terrorism in the months leading to his arrest.
The earliest entry in the statement of facts is in October 2018, when he messaged a friend about his commitment to jihad, martyrdom and the hereafter.
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“I am going to destroy the world,” he said. “Pray for me.”
He later went online to a pro-ISIS forum. He said he had questions about making TATP, a substance commonly used in improvised explosive devices, and was referred to a Syrian-based attack planner who went by Abu Umar Ibrahim.
“Allah willing do you want to carry on an operation abroad?” Ibrahim asked him.
“Brother do you know any brothers living in the USA and are ready to work,” the Kingston youth responded, adding, “The new target the new Trade tower Allah willing.”
Using the social media application Telegram, Ibrahim reached out to a contact in the U.S. he thought was an aspiring “lone wolf” of Syrian descent, but who was actually an FBI confidential human source.
The FBI later tipped off the RCMP.
Unwittingly, Ibrahim brought the FBI undercover into the plot, connecting him with “the Canadian brother” in Kingston.
“America is the Imam of disbelief that Mighty and Magistic (sic) Allah ordered us to fight,” the youth told the informant he thought was a fellow ISIS supporter. “You plan the execution in a church or in a stadium???? Or somewhere like that or you want police officers.”
“The most crowded place with the most impact,” the undercover responded.
The youth sent him photos of the supplies he would need to make a pressure cooker bomb like the one used to attack the Boston Marathon, and urged him to work quickly so he could attack before New Year’s Eve.
He followed up by sending a PowerPoint presentation with bomb-making instructions in Arabic.
Shown the bomb plan, Ibrahim tweaked it to make it deadlier, suggesting adding pieces of metal or nails, and the Kingston youth passed the instructions on to the undercover on Dec. 24.
Playing his part, the undercover pretended he was having doubts.
“Brother I rely on Allah,” he said, “but I started to think of the victims of the operation, what if women and children are among them?”
“Don’t they kill women and children in Muslim countries?” the Kingston teen replied. “Eye for Eye… Punish them as they have punished your brothers…They kill hundreds every day and we’re not aware.”
They spoke again on Jan. 3.
“Have you planned another attack, brother?” the teenager wrote. “I have an idea. You can enter bars and night clubs easily can’t you? If you could, you can go in and leave your bag and exit pretending that you forgot it. And after 15 minutes you kill the enemies of Allah who are partying and their soldiers are killing Muslims. And it won’t be confusing since there will be no children or innocent people.”
Four days later, a Kingston friend tried to talk the teen out of his commitment to martyrdom, but without success. He said he wanted to be a martyr and he might put a bomb under a police or military vehicle.
He said he had already tested a chemical substance that had shaken his house when it detonated.
“This is a clean and small operation,” he wrote. “A small device in the back of the car, I will fix a magnet around it and I will attach it … As soon as the car moves it explodes.”
He then sent a photo of his detonators to Ibrahim in Syria.
“Take your time and choose a juicy target,” Ibrahim advised him.
“That’s what I’ll do, that’s why I will chose a remote location where I can visit and do my thing, and produce large quantities.”
In an online chat group, the Ontario youth gave detailed bomb instructions to another suspected jihadist, known as Almawed Dabiq, and suggested his target could be “any police officer.”
The closest he came to explaining how he came to support ISIS was in a conversation with the FBI undercover.
“I met some brothers and I had the inclination towards jihad from before and a dream of establishing a Caliphate I saw my dream in those people and followed them for it,” he said.
On Jan. 16, he told his Kingston friend about seeing a couple kissing on the bus.
“Kissing his fiancée. And extending his neck. I said to myself, you dirty one are you happy. And my hand’s on the knife. But I said, let’s not hurt ourselves,” he said.
He said he had bigger plans.
“It needs something to shake the world. Slaughtering soldiers. Sniper killing. And stuff. Booby-trapping the army, fightings, ambushes. Something that will shake them,” he said.
His last communication with Ibrahim was on Jan. 21.
“I’m trying to train myself to running and knife stabbing,” he said.
They discussed using poisons, and the teen said he would “target the police and the army.”
He sent Ibrahim a photo of a grenade he had made.
Following his arrest, police found not only his bomb-making materials but also items on his phone about jihad, killing with firearms and using human shields.
His internet history showed searches for “jihadi nuclear bomb,” “how to make bombs” and “sentences of the Boston bomber.”
His sentencing is set for September. The Crown is seeking to have him sentenced as an adult.