OTTAWA (REUTERS, AFP) - One of two Canadian soldiers run down by a car driven by a suspected Islamic State militant has died, police said on Tuesday, the first such incident in Canada since the country joined the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
A police spokesman said the soldier died late on Monday. His name, age or rank was not released.
The incident occurred shortly before noon on Monday, when a car smashed into the two soldiers in a supermarket parking lot before fleeing with police in pursuit.
A few kilometers away, the driver lost control of his car and flipped into a ditch on the side of the road.A witness said the driver was holding a knife and headed toward police after he extricated himself from his vehicle. Police shot multiple times at the suspect, a 25-year-old man, who later died.
The office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper later said the driver was known to federal authorities and there were clear indications he had become “radicalised.”
The Canadian government did not explain what it meant by radicalised, but it has used the term to refer to Canadians who supported militant Islamic groups.
The incident took place in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, around 40 km southeast of Montreal.
Canadian media, citing police sources, identified the driver as Martin Couture-Rouleau, a resident of the Quebec town. Reuters was unable to verify the identity of the driver.
A neighbour, speaking on condition that her name not be used, told Reuters that Rouleau became radicalised about a year ago after getting involved with extremist Muslims.
Asked whether the victims had been targeted, a spokesman for the Surete du Quebec, the provincial police, told Reuters on Monday that was one of several theories but stressed it would take the police days to determine what had happened.
Canadian security officials have been worried for years about the potential threat of radicalised young men.
Canada is sending six fighter jets to take part in the US-led campaign against ISIS militants in Iraq.