Montreal police in action (file)
Montreal police in action (file)Reuters

Two 18-year-old Muslim students in Montreal were brought on trial on Monday for terrorism, with a prosecutor saying the two planned a bombing in the Montreal urban region.

The two, Sabrine Djaermane and El Mahdi Jamali, each have four terrorism charges leveled against them, including trying to leave Canada to join a terrorist group, facilitating terrorist activity, committing an offense for a terrorist group, and using explosives.

Quebec's Crown prosecutor told the Canadian Global News that the two are suspected of having planned to conduct a bombing attack "in the Montreal area."

That assessment was somewhat complicated by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) statement, which said "the charges result from a short police investigation launched after information was received from the (Muslim - ed.) community."

“The investigation showed that Sabrine Djermane and El Mahdi Jamali were planning to leave the country to commit a terrorist act abroad," read the statement.

Possibly reconciling the statements would be a scenario in which the two were planning to conduct the explosives attack before leaving to join jihad, likely in Syria or Iraq which have become a magnet for Western jihadists.

Canadian police announced that the investigation has not concluded with the arrest of the two, and that efforts are currently focused on determining if there are any other "individuals associated to the accused who could have conspired with them."

Responding to the case, Federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney said, "together our efforts will serve to protect Canadians from terrorists who wish to cause harm and threaten our freedom."

"Our government is determined to confront the terrorist threat at home," pledged Blaney. "That is why we introduced the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 to give our law enforcement and national security agencies the tools they need to better protect Canadians against these ever-evolving threats of jihadi terrorists.”