Canada mall evacuated over 'potential threat', three arrested: police

Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, arrives at Halifax Provincial Court in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Feb 17, to face charges in a plot to massacre as many people as possible in a Valentine's Day shooting spree at a Halifax mall. Yesterday Canadian police
Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, arrives at Halifax Provincial Court in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Feb 17, to face charges in a plot to massacre as many people as possible in a Valentine's Day shooting spree at a Halifax mall. Yesterday Canadian police arrested three more people over a "potential" threat to another Halifax mall. -- PHOTO:REUTERS

OTTAWA (AFP) - Three people were arrested Tuesday over a "potential threat" to a mall near Canada's port city of Halifax, which is home to the navy's Atlantic fleet.

Halifax Police Constable Pierre Bourdages said a "heavy police presence" was dispatched to the Mic Mac Mall in the Halifax suburb of Dartmouth.

The mall itself was closed for the day as the investigation turned to a residential neighbourhood a short distance from the complex.

Officers raided a small bungalow "in connection with the threats," but a suspect in the case was absent and "no dangerous substances" or firearms were found.

A short time later, an apartment in another part of the city was raided and three people were taken into custody "in relation to the incident", Bourdages said.

The scare comes after security officials last month warned shoppers in Canada and the United States to be on guard after an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group posted a video calling for attacks on Western malls.

The Shebab specifically threatened the Mall of America in the US state of Minnesota, Canada's massive West Edmonton Mall, London's famous Oxford Street shopping hub and two malls in France: Le Forum des Halles and Les Quatre Temps.

Also last month, an American woman, Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 23, and a Canadian man, Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, were arrested and charged with plotting a Valentine's Day massacre at another mall in Halifax.

A third suspect in that case was found dead at his parents' home.