VANCOUVER (Reuters, AFP) – Canadian police killed a man on Wednesday (Aug 10), national television news channels reported, after the police said they had identified a suspect after receiving “credible information of a potential terrorist threat”.
The suspect was killed during a police raid in a small Ontario town, CTV News and CBC News reported.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement they had identified a suspect in a national security threat and taken action to ensure the safety of the public.
“The safety and security of Canadians is of the utmost importance to the RCMP and we take all such threats seriously,” the RCMP said. No further details were provided.
Intelligence sources, who declined to be identified as they did not have permission to speak to media, told Reuters that the suspect was Aaron Driver, who was arrested last year for openly supporting Islamic State on social media.
Driver was not charged with a crime, but in February he was placed on a peace bond, a court order that restricted his movement, required that he stay away from social media and computers and not have contact with Islamic State or similar groups.
The sources said Driver, who also uses the alias Harun Abdurahman, lives in Strathroy, Ontario, a small community some 225km south-west of Toronto.
Driver’s death was not yet officially confirmed and his lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
Reports on Twitter late on Wednesday said police had raided a home in Strathroy in relation to the RCMP threat incident. Reporters on the scene later tweeted that the coroner had arrived and a body bag had been loaded into an official vehicle.
The London Free Press newspaper, citing family members, reported that Driver was shot by police after he detonated a device, wounding himself and another person. There was no immediate confirmation of that report.
A spokeswoman at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada’s spy agency, declined to comment, referring all queries to the RCMP.
The RCMP said in its statement that the investigation was still underway and it would not provide further comment. Media relations officers did not immediately return phone calls and emails.
Broadcaster CTV, citing internal government documents, said the suspect planned to set off an explosive device in a packed public space in a major city.
Canada was the target of two separate lone wolf attacks in October 2014 in Quebec and Ottawa that resulted in the death of two soldiers.
In Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 40km southeast of Montreal, a young man drove his car into two soldiers in a parking lot, killing one of them before being shot dead by police after a short chase.
Two days later on Oct 22, an attacker gunned down a ceremonial military guard and stormed parliament before being killed by security guards only meters from a room where the prime minister and his caucus were meeting.
Following these attacks, the Conservative government passed a bill giving the RCMP and Canada’s spy agency sweeping powers to thwart terror plots and prevent Canadian youth from flying overseas to join the Islamic State group in Syria.
Canada joined the US-led coalition against ISIS in September 2014.
After his Liberals unseated the Tories in a general election last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scaled back Canada’s participation in the coalition, ordering the withdrawal of Canadian fighter jets but increasing the number of military trainers in Iraq.
On several occasions, Trudeau has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to “fight terrorism in all its forms” and work closely with allies.