Police in Canada arrested a man and woman and accused them of attempting to leave pressure-cooker bombs at British Columbia’s provincial legislature on Canada Day on Monday, when thousands of people were expected to be there.
John Stewart Nuttall and Amanda Marie Korody were inspired by al-Qaeda ideology, but were self-radicalized, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said on Tuesday.
He called it a domestic threat without any apparent international connections.
Malizia told a news conference there was no evidence or indication to suggest a connection to the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in April, which used bombs made from pressure cookers.
RCMP Superintendent Wayne Rideout said the public was never at risk and the threat was discovered early.
Nuttall and Korody were arrested on Monday, the same day that thousands attended the Canada Day celebrations at the provincial legislature in the provincial capital of Victoria. Police said the pair targeted the celebrations, but the bombs were found outside the legislature before the crowds gathered.
“This self-radicalized behavior was intended to create maximum impact and harm to Canadian citizens at the B.C. legislature on a national holiday,” Rideout said.
“They took steps to educate themselves and produce explosive devices designed to cause injury and death,” he added.
The pair was charged with conspiracy, facilitating a terrorist activity and making an explosive device.
“A day after thousands of patriotic Canadians gathered on these grounds to celebrate the founding of our nation, I’m incredibly relieved to know that there was never any risk to anyone,” British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said on Tuesday.
“We’re also told that the suspects have no ties to any groups inside or outside Canada. Again, an incredible relief that these two individuals appeared to be working alone,” she added.
Rideout said the pressure cooker devices were under police control and were inert.
Nuttall and Korody made a brief appearance in court on Tuesday and are scheduled to return on Tuesday next week for a bail hearing.
Tom Morino, Nuttall’s lawyer, said the two are a couple.
“They refer to each other as husband and wife,” Morino said. “It may be a common-law relationship.”
Morino said Nuttall is a convert to Islam, but he added that Islam and al-Qaeda “don’t go hand in hand.”