Canadian soldier dies following car attack

2014-10-21 16:02

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Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu - One of two Canadian soldiers hit by a car in a city near Montreal has died and authorities are examining whether the driver's links to radical Islam had spurred the attack.

Quebec provincial police spokesperson Genevieve Bruno confirmed on Tuesday one of the two soldiers died from his injuries. She said the other soldier's injuries were less serious.

The soldier's name was not released at the request of the family.

The suspect, Martin Couture Rouleau, 25, was shot by police following a car chase and later died.

An official familiar with the case confirmed the suspect's name and that he had fallen under the influence of radical Islam. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson David Falls said Monday the suspect "was known to Federal authorities" and "authorities were concerned that he had become radicalised."

Police declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Neighbours, who declined to be identified, told reporters that Rouleau converted to Islam a little over a year ago. Since then, they said, he had started spending more time alone, grew out his beard, stopped wearing jeans and began wearing a tunic.

There was no answer at Rouleau's single story white brick home in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on Tuesday morning, and no sign of police.


Quebec provincial police Lt Michel Brunet said on Monday the suspect fled the scene of the attack and was pursued by police for about 4km before he lost control of the car, which rolled over several times. Police shot him after he exited the car.

Brunet said they found a knife on the ground but he could not say if the suspect had it in his hand when police opened. Television images showed a large knife in the grass near the flipped-over car.

Brunet said he didn't know if the soldiers were wearing uniforms at the time they were struck.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was briefed about the incident by the head of Canada's national police force, the head of the military and his national security adviser.

Harper said earlier Monday in Parliament that he was aware of the reports and called them "extremely troubling."

"First and foremost our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families; we're closely monitoring the situation and obviously we will make available all of the resources of the federal government," Harper said.

Fusilier Lee Rigby

The case is similar to one in London last year in which an al-Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death.

Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain. 

The ISIS group has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the US-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.

Read more on:    lee rigby  |  canada  |  religion

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