OTTAWA: A man who stabbed two Canadian soldiers at a military recruiting office in Toronto on Monday said he was acting on orders from “Allah,” police said.
Police chief Mark Saunders told a press conference, however, that suspect Ayanle Hassan Ali, 27, appears to have acted alone and that so far “there is nothing to suggest the accused is working with anyone or in concert with any organisation.”
The alleged assailant entered a government office building Monday afternoon and without provocation stabbed a soldier in the arm at the reception desk, then sought to wound a second soldier before he was subdued.
Neither victim was seriously wounded, police said.
Saunders said the suspect was overheard saying at the scene of the assault, “Allah told me to do this, Allah told me to kill people.”
Ali was charged Tuesday with attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and possessing a dangerous weapon. He was scheduled to make a brief court appearance in the afternoon.
Asked if investigators viewed the assault as an act of terrorism, Saunders said: “We’re looking into it.”
The Toronto police have asked federal prosecutors and security agencies for help in determining if there is a link to organised extremist movements, he said.
“The investigation’s incredibly early, there has to be a lot of analysis that has to be done so we can give a full and proper picture as to what exactly motivated this act,” Saunders explained.
“At this point in time, the charges that we’ve laid are criminal,” he said.
Few details were released concerning the suspect, who was born in Montreal and moved to Toronto in 2011.
Following his arrest, he was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.