Prosecutor says arson was an act of terror

Dec. 18, 2004 at 12:25 PM

MONTREAL, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Canadian prosecutors call the firebombing of a Montreal Jewish grade-school library "an act of terrorism" on Canadian soil.

Prosecutor Anne Aube said Friday the torching of the United Talmud Torah school that destroyed 10,000 books was an act of revenge that attacked Canadian values as a whole, the Globe and Mail reported Saturday.

Sleiman El-Merhebi, 19, has pleaded guilty to setting the April 5 fire in response to Israel's slaying of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin.

"This case is an act of terrorism, an isolated act of terrorism that doesn't come from a terrorist organization, but terrorism nonetheless," Aube told Quebec Court Judge Jean Sirois.

Pierre Poupart, the defendant's attorney, argued the first-time offender should serve his sentence in the community, but the prosecution called for two years in the federal penitentiary.

Aube said El-Merhebi's action was not a teen-age prank, but a premeditated attack he planned for days and even worked out an alibi.

Police concluded El-Merhebi was not linked to any groups, but did not work alone.

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