Canadian police say man in Ontario raid was in final stages of attack plan

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 11, 2016 11:00 AM

By Robert MacMillan

STRATHROY, Ontario (Reuters) - The man killed during a Canadian police raid at his home in Ontario on Wednesday was a supporter of Islamic State who was in the final stages of attacking a major urban center with a homemade bomb, police said on Thursday.

Police raided the home of Aaron Driver in the small town of Strathroy, some 225 km (140 miles) southwest of Toronto, after receiving credible information, including a "martyrdom video," from U.S. authorities that he planned an attack, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said.

Driver died after he detonated an explosive device in the backseat of a taxi as police closed in, the RCMP said at a news conference in Ottawa. Police could not say if he died as a result of that detonation, or because he was shot by officers.

The video provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation allowed the RCMP to identify Driver. In the video, which was shown at the news conference, a man in a black balaclava reads verses from the Koran, refers to crimes against Muslims and pledges an imminent attack on a Canadian city.

"Oh Canada, you received many warnings, you were told many times what would become of those who fight against the Islamic State," the man says in the video.

The video indicated that the attack was planned for the next 72 hours, during rush hour. Police said there was no indication that Driver, a 24-year-old Muslim convert, had any accomplices in his plans.

Driver, who also used the alias Harun Abdurahman, was arrested last year for openly supporting the militant Islamist group Islamic State on social media.

He had not been charged with a crime. But in February he was placed on a peace bond, a court order that restricted his movements, required that he stay away from social media and computers and not have contact with Islamic State or similar groups.

Police said at the news conference that Driver had not been under constant surveillance, but had been monitored.

The incident was the first security test for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was elected in October 2015 and who in February fulfilled a campaign pledge to withdraw Canada from the combat mission against Islamic State and to increase its mission training local fighters against the group in northern Iraq.

(This story corrects paragraph one to show that it is not yet clear how the man died)

(Additional reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto, Andrea Hopkins in Ottawa; Writing by Frances Kerry; Editing by Alan Crosby)