Suspect said ‘Allah told me to do this’ during double stabbing at Canadian Forces recruitment centre, police say.
A Toronto man who attacked a Canadian military recruiting centre Monday said Allah told him to do it, according to Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders.
Twenty-seven year old Ayanie Hassan Ali, who was born in Montreal and moved to Toronto in 2011, was arrested Monday and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
Police say he walked into a Canadian Forces office in north Toronto and attacked several soldiers inside with a large knife.
“While at the scene, the accused stated: “Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come here and kill people,’” Saunders said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
Both soldiers were taken to hospital, treated and released Monday.
Though the investigation has only just begun, Saunders said there was nothing yet to indicate that Ali was working with any outside organization or individual.
“I want to be very, very careful, when it comes to the national security piece, that we don’t through that Islamophobia nonsense,” Saunders said. “I don’t want this categorizing of a large group of people. That would be very unfair and very inaccurate.”
Ali is due to appear in court Monday afternoon.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said it appears to have been an isolated incident and “there is no imminent threat to public safety.”
I don’t want this categorizing of a large group of people. That would be very unfair and very inaccurate
The Canadian Forces had not received any warnings or “observed any unusual activity,” before the attack, a military official said at a news conference outside the centre Tuesday morning. He said it’s “business as usual” at the recruitment centre “although we do remain vigilant.”
There have been two other recent attacks in the country on Canadian soldiers.
On Oct. 22, 2014 Michael Zehaf Bibeau shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, an honour guard at the National War Memorial, before rushing into Parliament’s Centre Block and opening fire. Zehaf Bibeau was quickly shot dead.
Two days earlier, Martin Couture-Rouleau fatally rammed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent with a car in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. After a chase, police shot and killed the knife-wielding Couture-Rouleau.
National Post, with files from The Canadian Press