On Tuesday morning, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders identified the man who attacked a Canadian Armed Forces recruiting center on Monday as Ayanle Hassan Ali, 27. According to Saunders, during the attack, Ali shouted, “Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come here and kill people.”
Canada’s National Post reports the police “suspect a terror link” based on these comments, which confirm reports from Monday evening that the attacker yelled something about “Allah” during his assault.
“Some heard him say, ‘Praise Allah’ and others heard ‘Allah’ or ‘Aly.’ Several heard the man use this terminology. It’s not something you take a chance on and this is why the call was made to the police agencies who handle terror issues,” a police source told the Toronto Sun on Monday.
Sources further informed the Sun on Monday night that the suspect “appears to be of Middle Eastern descent, and was presenting himself as if he is Muslim.”
The National Post quotes Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, saying the attack appears to have been an “isolated incident” and “there is no imminent threat to public safety.”
The recruiting center has returned to “business as usual,” according to a military official, “although we do remain vigilant.”
The Times Colonist relates Chief Saunders’s account of the attack: “He said the man, a native Montrealer who’s been in Toronto since 2011, walked past a master corporal stationed at the door of the center on Monday afternoon and then stabbed him when he tried to stop him. He then stabbed another military member who tried to apprehend him.”
Ali was then subdued by other uniformed employees of the recruiting center. According to the Toronto Sun, the injuries to the two male victims are not life-threatening.
The National Post reports Ali is due in court on Tuesday afternoon to face “an attempted murder charge, two counts of assault with a weapon, and one weapons dangerous charge.”