Canada charges 15-year-old with terrorism-related offences

A woman writes a message on a Canadian flag at a makeshift memorial in honour of Cpl Nathan Cirillo, outside the Lieutenant-Colonel John Weir Foote Armoury, on Oct 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A woman writes a message on a Canadian flag at a makeshift memorial in honour of Cpl Nathan Cirillo, outside the Lieutenant-Colonel John Weir Foote Armoury, on Oct 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MONTREAL (REUTERS) - Canadian police charged a 15-year-old youth with terrorism-related offences on Wednesday, alleging that the teenager had committed a robbery "for the benefit, or at the direction, of a terrorist group".

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) did not name the teenager, who they say had allegedly planned to leave Canada to join "terrorist activity abroad". He appeared in a Montreal court on Wednesday.

"The RCMP is relentless in its pursuit of those who would seek to participate in terrorist activity," Assistant Commissioner James Malizia, the officer in charge of RCMP Federal Policing Operations, said in a statement.

Police said they would not comment on the grounds for laying the charges due to the teenager's age and the ongoing investigation. They also did not identify the group to which the teenager was allegedly connected.

In October, two Canadian soldiers were killed by suspected militant sympathisers in separate incidents near Montreal and Ottawa. Both the attackers, including one who launched an attack on the Canadian Parliament, were shot dead by security officers.

The attacks came after Canada sent warplanes to the Middle East to take part in US-led air strikes against targets of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Canadian officials have said they are tracking 93 people they consider high-risk travelers, who they fear could try to leave the country to join militant groups or mount attacks in Canada. Most of those are Canadian citizens, the RCMP has said.