Canada raises 'terrorism' alert after soldier killed

2014-10-22 12:39


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Ottawa - Canada raised its national "terrorism" alert on Tuesday, officials said, after a soldier, run over by a suspected jihadist, died in hospital.

The alert level was raised from low to medium after authorities said a man they believed to be "radicalised" struck two officers with his car on Monday, but authorities said the heightened alert was not "the result of a specific threat."

"This level means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism", Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesperson for the public safety ministry said.

The assailant in Monday's attack was identified as 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau, who was briefly detained at a Canadian airport last July when he sought to fly to Turkey, federal police said.

Police did not have enough evidence to charge him with seeking to join a terrorist group abroad and released him.

Couture-Rouleau was fatally shot by police after he struck two soldiers with his car in a Quebec parking lot, a scenario which had been depicted only last month in ISIS propaganda.

At a press conference, public safety minister Steven Blaney said the deliberate attack was "clearly linked to terrorist ideology".

"I am horrified by what took place here", he said. "This is a terrible act of violence against our country, against our military, against our values".

The attack took place as Canadian warplanes headed to bomb ISIS militants in Iraq.

Defense minister Rob Nicholson said the soldier's death "in a senseless act such as this only strengthens our resolve" to take on militant groups such as ISIS.

Washington, meanwhile, condemned the attack.

Motive investigated

Couture-Rouleau smashed his car into the two soldiers in a supermarket parking lot before fleeing with police in pursuit.

He called 911 to tell emergency workers about the attack as it was happening.

Police said he then crashed his car into a roadside ditch and rolled it over. When he extricated himself from the wreckage brandishing a knife, officers shot him.

The slain soldier had been admitted in critical condition to a hospital in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 40KM southeast of Montreal. At 53 years old, he had served most of his adult life in the military.

Officials said the injuries to the other soldier were not life-threatening.

The motive behind the attack is still being investigated.

Read more on:    isis  |  canada  |  security

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