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News > World

Somali Man Faces Charges by Canada Police in 'Terror' Case

  • Edmonton Police investigate at the scene where a man hit pedestrians then flipped the U-Haul truck he was driving.

    Edmonton Police investigate at the scene where a man hit pedestrians then flipped the U-Haul truck he was driving. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 October 2017

The suspect is now facing five counts of attempted murder after stabbing a police officer and running down pedestrians Saturday night.

Canadian officials are alleging “terrorism” after a Somali asylum-seeker stabbed a police officer and ran down several pedestrians with a car in Edmonton, Alberta.

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The 30-year-old man, whom police did not identify, is now facing five counts of attempted murder.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they had investigated the suspect two years ago for allegedly promoting an ideology deemed “extremist,” but they did not uncover sufficient evidence to pursue charges.

Canadian media identified the suspect as Abdulahi Hasan Sharif. Reuters was not immediately able to confirm his identity.

The attacks began at about 8:15 p.m. on Saturday when a Chevy Malibu struck a police officer standing in front of a football stadium, sending him flying into the air. The driver got out of the car and stabbed the officer multiple times before fleeing.

Police identified the suspect when he was stopped at a checkpoint and his license showed that he was the owner of the Malibu. He fled and was detained by police after a police chase across a downtown street, during which he struck four pedestrians.

A flag of the Islamic State group was found inside the Malibu, according to officials.

“To the best of our knowledge, this was a lone-wolf attack,” Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson told reporters. “There’s no immediate cause for panic or concern.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the incident “another example of the hate that we must remain ever vigilant against.” Canada’s government said it would keep the terrorist threat level at medium, where it has been since late 2014.

"Random acts of sick people are difficult to anticipate,” Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said. “We are in a responsive mode on this but I believe the response is well-co-ordinated, calm, appropriate. It was swift."

The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council organized a rally the next day to condemn the attack alongside community members and officials.

“These types of acts, whether terrorism or not, seek to divide communities. We have to show that’s not going to happen, not in Edmonton,” said group spokesman Aurangzeb Qureshi.

The group is hoping to preemptively address the issue to defuse any unfavorable backlash that may come as police launch extra particulars from their investigation. The Muslim community of Alberta has faced Islamophobic harassment, including violent threats, in the past.

Canada has been dealing in recent months with a surge in unauthorized border crossings by people seeking refugee status, renewing anti-immigrant fervor among some Canadians.

In January, a French-Canadian university student was charged with murder after six people were shot and killed inside a Quebec City mosque, in what Trudeau called “a terrorist attack.”

In 2015, a videotape attributed to Somali-based Islamist militant group al Shabaab threatened North American malls, including the West Edmonton Mall.

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