Canadian car attack, stabbing being probed as 'terrorism'

Canadian police have arrested a man suspected of stabbing an officer and injuring several pedestrians last Saturday. The driver of a U-Haul truck was arrested after it flipped over, ending a high-speed chase through Edmonton in Alberta province.
Canadian police have arrested a man suspected of stabbing an officer and injuring several pedestrians last Saturday. The driver of a U-Haul truck was arrested after it flipped over, ending a high-speed chase through Edmonton in Alberta province.PHOTO: CBC NEWS

TORONTO • Canadian police early yesterday arrested a man suspected of stabbing an officer and injuring four pedestrians in a series of violent incidents being investigated as "acts of terrorism".

The crime spree began last Saturday evening outside a football stadium in Edmonton city and ended hours later with a high-speed chase that saw the driver of a rented truck plough into pedestrians, said the police.

"Currently, we believe this is an individual who acted alone, although the investigation is in its early stages," Reuters quoted Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht as saying.

Based on the actions and the evidence, the incidents were being investigated as "acts of terrorism", the police said in a statement.

Mr Knecht told reporters that an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria flag found inside the suspect's vehicle had been seized and was part of the investigation, reported The Globe and Mail.

At around 8.15pm last Saturday, a man in a speeding white Chevy Malibu crashed through police barricades outside a stadium where a Canadian Football League game was being played. The car struck a police officer standing in front of his patrol car, "sending him flying through the air", Reuters reported.

"A male, believed to be 30 years of age, then jumped out of his vehicle and began viciously stabbing the officer with a knife, as a struggle ensued," the police said.

The suspect fled on foot and the police officer was rushed to hospital. Just before midnight, the police pulled over a rental U-Haul truck and noticed the name on the driver's licence was similar to that for the white Malibu, said Reuters.

The man in the truck then took off towards downtown Edmonton, according to the police account.

"During the chase, the U-Haul truck deliberately attempted to hit pedestrians in crosswalks and alleys," it said. "Currently, it is believed that four pedestrians were struck by the truck and transported to hospital with multiple injuries."

The chase ended when the truck flipped over and the driver was arrested. The police described him as being from Edmonton.

Canada's CTV News said the officer was expected to recover, although details on the condition of the victims were not immediately available, according to Agence France-Presse.

Mr Austin Elgie, who manages The Pint bar, told The Globe and Mail that the truck hit a person in the alley outside his bar.

"We were standing out front and basically a U-Haul was heading north down 109th Street and peeled into this smoking alley here where people were having a smoke," he said. "There were like 10 cop cars following him."

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "We cannot - and will not - let violent extremism take root in our communities. We know that Canada's strength comes from our diversity, and we will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us or promote fear."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'Canadian car attack, stabbing being probed as 'terrorism''. Print Edition | Subscribe