Military Dad of Canadian ISIS Suspect Feared Son Would be Picked Up for 'Horrifying' Radicalism
Royal Canadian Mounted Police killed an ISIS supporter Wednesday in a southern Ontario town just two hours' drive from Detroit -- whose military father had anonymously reported his fears about his convert son to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation more than a year ago.
The Mounties said in a statement Wednesday that they "received credible information of a potential terrorist threat."
"A suspect was identified and the proper course of action has been taken to ensure that there is no danger to the public's safety," the statement continued.
"The safety and security of Canadians is of the utmost importance to the RCMP and we take all such threats seriously. As this is still an unfolding matter and that the investigation is still underway, we are not able to provide further comment at this time."
They encouraged Canadians to "remain alert and to immediately report any suspicious or unusual behaviour" to police. The Mounties were expected to reveal more information in a Thursday press conference.
CTV reported the suspect was 24-year-old Aaron Daniel Driver, someone "well known to Canadian intelligence and police officials for his support for the Islamist terrorist group," including through postings on Twitter that cheered and encouraged ISIS attacks. He had been previously arrested but not charged, though he did receive conditions such as not being permitted to use a computer or associating with other ISIS fans.
"Neighbours reported hearing a loud explosion and gunshots during the police operation, which included swat teams, a bomb squad, the RCMP and Canada’s military special operations forces," the CTV report added.
The Canadian network said it intercepted a government memo noting that Driver planned to carrying out a suicide bombing, possibly during rush hour on Wednesday, in a busy location to inflict mass casualties.
It wasn't specified, though, which city he planned to target.
The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Driver used to live in Charleswood, a suburb of the capital of Manitoba, before moving to the city between Toronto and Detroit.
He used the alias Harun Abdourahman.
The February "peace bond" under which Driver had computer and cell phone restrictions was about to expire, the paper noted. He would have gotten his computer and cell privileges back on Aug. 31 and was prohibited from possessing a firearm or explosives -- or contacting ISIS -- until the end of the year.
In June 2015, the month Driver was arrested, CBC reported that a lawyer was arguing a condition requiring Driver to receive "religious counseling" was contrary to Canadian values.
"We need to be sure that we're separating his frankly abhorrent views from his rights as a Canadian citizen," Winnipeg human rights lawyer Corey Shefman said.