Two Canadian soldiers were stabbed in an unprovoked attack inside a federal building in Toronto March 14. Witnesses heard the attacker, identified as Ayanle Hassan Ali, 27, yell “Praise Allah” during the attack.
The Joseph Shepard Building, where the attack occurred, is located on Toronto’s major business thoroughfare Yonge Avenue. The building houses a recruitment office for the Canadian Forces, a passport office and a call center.
Ali entered the building and stabbed the first officer. Other soldiers quickly subdued him, with a second soldier stabbed in the process. Neither soldier is in a life-threatening condition.
Due to the nature of the attack, Toronto police called in terrorism experts to aid in the investigation.
“We’re very fortunate that the Canadian Forces, through their training, responded, reacted, and as a result, I can tell you that had they not reacted, the chances of this being much more severe, much more serious, definitely would have occurred,” said Police Chief Mark Saunders.
The chief called in the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team to investigate the incident. The team comprises members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police unit that deals with terrorism and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
“They will look into not only this individual’s movements, mental health, contact with police, but his affiliations and whereabouts,” said a police source. “No stone will be left unturned.”
Two Canadian soldiers were killed in Islamist terror attacks in 2014:
- W.O. Patrice Vincent , who was struck by a car in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, near Montreal, by radicalized Muslim convert Martin Couture-Rouleau, and
- Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was shot at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, also a radicalized Muslim.