Featured image credit: Getty Images Image caption: Jihadist car bombings along Syria’s Lebanese border have caused growing safety concerns
A Lebanese-Canadian man has been charged with shipping mortar shells that were used by the Islamic State group, among other things, from the Middle East to northern Syria, CBC News reports.
The justice minister, Harjit Sajjan, said the law enforcement agency will “seek justice” against Ali Hamdan, who was arrested in Vancouver last month.
The justice department said there is no link between the shipments and any Canadian foreign policy, but said the investigation of Mr Hamdan is part of a broader investigation into the shell companies he set up to help bring some of these items through customs.
Prosecutors claim that Mr Hamdan helped bring 25,000 mortar shells across the North American border, apparently under the guise of ivory carvers or hunters, CBC News says. He then tried to dispose of them at sea.
Mr Hamdan is accused of importing the shells via a Canadian registry, Al-Aikam, which is limited to ivory products.
It claims to be the world’s most popular online retailer of ivory. It only sells “real” ivory that has been inspected by the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The small house in which Mr Hamdan allegedly stashed the carvings was boarded up on Tuesday, the Canadian Press reports.
The CBC says Canadian authorities told undercover informants that Mr Hamdan also purchased about 400 .22 calibre rounds from a Canadian contractor, who was working with UNICEF to put off-road vehicles to work in the very mountainous region of Syria, which is controlled by the Islamic State.
Like most Iraqi troops, the Canadian supply truck driver had never travelled into the region.
According to the CBC, Mr Hamdan reportedly purchased at least one rocket-propelled grenade and hundreds of mortar rounds, some of which were delivered to IS as recently as December.
“It’s in the global community’s best interest to take steps to counter the cartels that are selling raw materials to groups like ISIS,” Mr Sajjan said.
Islamic State militants are said to have taken control of large parts of Syria in 2014, and have since wreaked havoc on several parts of the country.