Canada police investigate 'terrorism' attack

Canada police investigate 'terrorism' attack

The suspect accused of stabbing a police officer before crashing a speeding U-Haul van into a crowd of people in Edmonton, Canada, had come to the country from Somalia trying to claim refugee status, police revealed.

He is now facing five counts of attempted murder, four counts of risky driving causing bodily harm, unsafe operation of a motor vehicle and one weapons-related charge.

Although police have described the incident as a suspected terrorist act, terrorism charges have not been laid.

Sharif, 30, is to make his first appearance Tuesday in provincial court on 11 charges, including five counts of attempted murder.

"The Edmonton police has arrested and placed in custody a man whom we believe to be responsible for these acts of violence", said Rod Knecht, chief, Edmonton police.

It began when a man driving a Chevrolet Malibu crashed through a police barrier associated with a sports event and struck an Edmonton police officer, throwing him 15 feet through the air.

Police set up checkpoints and began stopping cars, leading to a second encounter with the suspect, now driving a U-Haul cube van, east of the stadium just after midnight. "It's not critical, " Knecht said of the injuries.

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Constable Mike Chernyk, who was hit by a vehicle and stabbed repeatedly, emerged with remarkably few injuries, and was released from hospital early Sunday.

Investigators say the truck driver appeared to deliberately try to hit pedestrians in crosswalks and alleys while attempting to evade police. "We know that Canada's strength comes from our diversity, and we will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us or promote fear", he said.

Subsequently, a van was stopped at a checkpoint, and the name of the driver appeared to be similar to the name of the registered owner of the auto that hit the officer.

Footage shows them both getting to their feet and the driver running across the street while the officer slowly follows behind him into traffic.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said it would be wrong to blame the attack on any alleged shortcomings or failures in Canada's immigration and refugee vetting system. As of Sunday evening, two of the pedestrians remained in hospital in stable condition. "In fact, no shots were fired anywhere in this entire incident", said Knecht.

"If we hadn't pursued this vehicle in light of the use of the auto earlier to run over a police officer and the history of large vehicle attacks in Germany, Spain, and other European countries, the outcome would've been much worse", EPS Insp.

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