Top Canadian security officials say they have intercepted or intervened in a number of cases involving Canadian youths set to join the Somalia-based militant organization al-Shabaab, but in spite of their efforts many others may have joined the group.
Canadian security officials believe at least 20 Canadian youths have been recruited by al-Shabaab — and that most of those young men have come from the Greater Toronto Area.
Canadian officials claim the group has been so successful at recruiting that it is now considered to be the number 1 threat to Canada's national security.
In an interview with CBC News, Insp. Keith Finn of Canada's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team said that in spite of the successes of intercepting some youths bound for al-Shabaab training camps, there's always concern about those who've slipped through and could eventually return to Canada as trained terrorists.
"The problem is, if they're prepared to act on it, a very small number of people can cause a great deal of damage to Canadians," said Finn.
In a video obtained by CBC News, English-speaking extremists in Somalia are heard urging youths in the West to wage holy war, or jihad.