Spooked by Burgas, Canada may strip terrorists’ citizenship

Spooked by Burgas, Canada may strip terrorists’ citizenship

Minister calls for move after Bulgarian probe into bombing finds one of two living suspects holds a Canadian passport

Smoke rises into the sky after an explosion at Burgas airport,  Bulgaria, on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (photo credit: AP Photo/Burgasinfo)
Smoke rises into the sky after an explosion at Burgas airport, Bulgaria, on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (photo credit: AP Photo/Burgasinfo)

TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s immigration minister said Wednesday his government should consider stripping Canadians with dual citizenship who commit terrorist acts of their Canadian status. The remarks follow revelations that a Canadian with dual Lebanese citizenship is suspected of being involved in a bus attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said that one of the suspects was born in Lebanon, came to Canada at age eight, became a Canadian citizen and then left at age 12. He said he assumed the man was a dual Lebanese- Canadian citizen.

“I understand he may have been back to Canada a few times since then, but he has not has been a habitual resident in Canada since the age of 12,” Kenney said.

A top Bulgarian security official said Wednesday the two living suspects behind the bus attack have been identified and both are now living in Lebanon. The bomb that exploded July 18 as the Israeli tourists were boarding a bus at the airport in Burgas also killed a Bulgarian bus driver and the suspected bomber. Three men are suspected in the attack, including the dead bomber.

On Tuesday, an official Bulgarian report said investigators had “well-grounded reasons to suggest” that two of the suspects belonged to the militant wing of the Islamist group Hezbollah. The report said they had been living in Lebanon for years, one with a Canadian passport and the other with an Australian one.

“The confirmed involvement of a Canadian citizen in the Hezbollah bombing in Bulgaria last year is deeply concerning to us,” Kenney said.

A Conservative Canadian lawmaker has a bill before Parliament that would revoke citizenship from dual nationals if they engage in an act of war against the Canadian military. Kenney said could be amended to include acts of terrorism abroad.

“Canadian citizenship is predicated on loyalty to this country and I cannot think of a more obvious act of renouncing one’s sense of loyalty than going and committing acts of terror,” Kenney said.

Canadian government officials noted other countries have the ability to revoke the citizenship of its citizens. Opposition Liberal leader Bob Rae said the government should not do “policy making on the fly” and urged more study of the matter.

Tuesday’s revelation is the second by a foreign government in recent weeks that Canadians allegedly took part in terrorist attacks abroad. Canada has to yet to confirm a claim by Algeria that at least one Canadian was among terrorists who staged a deadly attack on a Saharan gas plant last month. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Tuesday he hasn’t even been provided with a name from Algerian authorities.

A number of Western citizens have been linked to terrorism both in their home countries and abroad in recent years.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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