Source: torontosun.com(PATRICK MALONEY AND JENNIFER O’BRIEN, QMI AGENCY/With files from Reuters)
A CBC report Monday night cited unnamed sources in identifying two former South Secondary School students — Ali Medlej and Xristos Katsiroubas — as the Canadians whose bodies were found in the wreckage of the attack in Algeria in January.
QMI Agency attempts to speak with Katsiroubas’ relatives in London were unsuccessful late Monday, with one man refusing to answer the door and a woman shutting the door in a reporter’s face. “No thank you,” she said.
But the reported involvement of two London men sent shockwaves across the country, leaving the city at the centre of a stunning story of two Canadians implicated in the deaths of dozens.
About 70 people died when Algerian troops stormed the Tigantourine desert gas plant near the town of In Amenas to end the January hostage-taking. Algeria’s prime minister said at the time that a Canadian gunman had co-ordinated the operation.
The RCMP went to Algeria to investigate. An RCMP spokesperson last month told Reuters that two Canadians had been identified from the remains of the suspected attackers.
Monday, indications the attackers were from London had become a dramatic point of conversation across the city.
Former classmates were scouring their memories from South Secondary for any recollections of the pair — and there appeared to be few.
“He was totally forgettable,” one South alum, now 22, said of Katsiroubas, a Grade 10 and 11 classmate. “You know the cliche . . . a loner who kind of stayed to himself.”
The report cited another unnamed former classmate saying he recalls Katsiroubas moving toward Islam, and showing a growing interest in attending a mosque in London.
But a mosque spokesman said he had no recollection of the young men.
“I think the immediate reaction is ‘What? Here?’” London Muslim Mosque board member Wael Haddara said after contacting younger members of the community to ask if anyone had heard of the two men. “So far, nobody knows who these people are.
“I don’t know them and I think I know most of the younger people who come to the mosque by first-name basis,” he said.
Haddara said the mosque has not been contacted by police or CSIS about the situation, but said board members and staff would welcome any inquiries.
“It sounds funny, telling law-enforcement authorities through the newspaper that we are more than happy to talk to them, but we are,” he said.