June 19, 2018

Canadian police kill ‘terror suspect’ in Ontario armed swoop

Armed police in Strathroy, Ontario, where a terror suspect was killed. Photograph: Geoff Robins/AP

A terror suspect was killed when Canada’s national police force thwarted what officials said was a suicide bomb plot.

Armed officers descended on the town of Strathroy, Ontario, on Wednesday afternoon. Police cited in news reports said the operation centred on Aaron Driver, a man in his mid-20s who had sympathised with the Islamic State group on social media and was under a court order not to associate with any terrorist group.

The London Free Press newspaper, citing family members, reported that Driver was shot by police after he detonated a device, wounding himself and another person.

Senior police said late on Wednesday that the suspect had allegedly planned to carry out a suicide bombing mission in a public area.

Driver, originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, was in February placed on a court-ordered peace bond restricting his movements.

He was ordered to stay away from social media and computers and not have contact with Islamic State or similar groups. The bond cited “reasonable grounds to fear that he may participate, contribute directly or indirectly in the activity of a terrorist group”.

Driver also used the alias Harun Abdurahman. He said in February he did not think Canadians should fear him and that people should not be persecuted for their political beliefs, according to CBC news.

A police operation continued well into Wednesday night in Strathroy, a southern Ontario town about 140 miles (225km) south-west of Toronto.

Irene Lee, whose parents own a convenience store near Driver’s home, said police had arrived on the quiet residential street shortly after 4pm and quickly surrounded the house.

“I hear a bomb sound, like a bang – I was freaking out because this is a small and quiet town,” she said. “All of a sudden the policemen were yelling ‘Everyone get into your houses.’”

The RCMP said a suspect had been identified and the “proper course of action has been taken” to ensure there was no danger to public safety.

The Canadian public safety minister Ralph Goodale said he had spoken to Justin Trudeau, the prime minister, about the events “to confirm that public safety has been and continues to be properly protected”.

The RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other police and security agencies were involved in the operation, Goodale said.

“These agencies conducted themselves effectively in the circumstances that developed today,” Goodale said.

The national terrorism threat level for Canada remained at medium where it had stood since the fall of 2014, Goodale said.

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