Officials Call Incidents in Edmonton Last Night 'Acts of Terrorism,' ISIS Flag Found at Scene
At a 3 a.m. press conference this morning, Edmonton officials said that two separate but apparently related incidents last night are being investigated as "acts of terrorism."
What began as an attack on an Edmonton police officer at a roadblock outside an Edmonton Eskimos football game at Commonwealth Stadium, several hours later became a vehicle-ramming attack (with a U-Haul rental truck) on pedestrians during a high-speed chase in the city's downtown area.
The officer's injuries are not critical. No updates have been provided on the pedestrians struck.
An ISIS flag was found inside the car that struck the officer. One suspect who was driving the U-Haul is under arrest.
The Edmonton Journal reports:
The attack began on a police officer who was manning a routine Eskimos game-day blockade by himself near Commonwealth Stadium at around 8:15 p.m. when a car rammed into him, tossing him 15 feet into the air.
The suspect then rammed a police vehicle at high speed before getting out of his white Chevrolet Malibu and attacking the officer with a knife. The officer was stabbed multiple times before the suspect fled on foot.
A manhunt was underway when the suspect was pulled over at a police check stop on Wayne Gretzky Drive around three hours later driving a U-Haul. The suspect, believed to be 30 years old, fled when his name was recognized as the owner of the vehicle used in the initial attack.
A high speed chase ensued with the suspect racing west down Jasper Avenue into the downtown, deliberately attempting to run over pedestrians in crosswalks and in alleys. Four pedestrians were struck before the suspect’s vehicle overturned on 100 Avenue just south of Jasper chased by more than a dozen police vehicles.
ISIS supporters are already discussing the incidents.
The 2016 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada stated that authorities believe 180 people from Canada joined with the terror group in Syria and Iraq.
Four members of Edmonton's Somali community are known to have joined the terror group.
In media interviews and on social media, witnesses to last night's attack described what they saw.
As I reported here at PJ Media after the August 17th Barcelona terror incident in the Las Ramblas shopping district popular with tourists, the vehicle-related attacks the past two years in iconic locations have resulted in remaking the face of many major cities in the West.
We've seen these ramming attacks in the U.S. as well.
Last November, on the first day of classes following the Thanksgiving holiday, Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove into a crowd of students at Ohio State -- the largest college campus in the country -- injuring thirteen. The Islamic State later claimed credit for the attack, calling Artan one of its "soldiers."
The incident at Ohio State was not the first car-ramming terror attack on a U.S. college campus. In March 2006, Iranian native Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove his SUV through a popular area on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus called "The Pit" during lunchtime. Nine people were injured in that attack, which Taheri-azar said was done to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.” He had rented the SUV specifically to maximize casualties. He is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence.
Islamic terrorist groups have openly encouraged their supporters living in Western countries to use vehicles to conduct random attacks.
In October 2010, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) published in its English-language "Inspire" magazine -- in a section titled "Open Source Jihad" -- instructions on creating "the Ultimate Mowing Machine."
That resulted in the FBI and DHS issuing a joint intelligence bulletin for law enforcement agencies warning of possible attacks.
After an ISIS-inspired terrorist ran down and killed a soldier in Quebec, the terror group encouraged additional attacks in its December 2014 "Dabiq" magazine. They specifically identified and targeted coalition countries targeting ISIS, including the "U.S., U.K., France, Australia, and Germany."
With multiple incidents in Europe already this year, authorities across the U.S. are reacting to the call for more of these terror attacks.
The waning fortunes of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, including the retaking of most of their capital in Raqqa, Syria, have encouraged not lessened these types of attacks.
And there's no indication that they will be stopping anytime soon.