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Canada Police Won’t Call it Terror; Minister Insists: ‘No National Security Connection’

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At least 10 are dead and several others injured after a man in a white rental van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto, and police and politicians alike are still trying to find the root cause of the attack.

They’ve identified the driver as Alek Minassian, 25, but aren’t sure of his motives. So it’s rather odd that they’ve already toned down and tried to take off the plate the big “t” word, terror.

Officials are calling the attack “deliberate,” but won’t call it an act of terror.

So what are they saying instead?

As one official put it: Monday, the day of attack, was a really “horrible day.”

They’re also denying the attack has any link to the G7 conference that was taking place just a few miles away.

The Times of Israel has more:

At least 10 people have died after a man plowed a white rental van into a crowd of pedestrians in Canada’s biggest city Toronto on Monday, in what police are calling a “deliberate” attack but have refrained from defining as terrorism.

The incident took place in broad daylight around 16 kilometers (10 miles) from a conference center hosting a meeting of G7 ministers, but officials said they had no evidence of a link to the event.

“The actions definitely looked deliberate,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told journalists.

Ralph Goodale, the minister of public security, added that “on the basis of all available information at the present time, there would appear to be no national security connection to this particular incident.”
“Horrible day in Toronto,” he had posted earlier on Twitter. “Senseless violence takes heavy toll.”

In a later tweet, he said that there was “NO National Security connection” to the incident.

Police arrested a suspect at the scene — who police identified later as 25-year-old Alek Minassian from a northern Toronto suburb — of the attack, whose initial death toll of nine jumped to 10 after one person succumbed to injuries.

Fifteen people remained in hospitals throughout the city, Saunders said, adding that local, provincial and federal investigators were probing the case.

At the scene, at least three bodies could be seen under orange sheets and a long stretch of road was sealed off with police incident tape.

The suspect and a police officer faced off, their guns drawn. The suspect eventually surrendered his weapon and was taken into custody.

Vehicle attacks have been carried out to deadly effect by extremists in a number of capitals and major cities, including London, Paris, New York and Nice.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the G7 meeting would continue as planned into Tuesday, with officials discussing ways to secure democratic societies from foreign interference.

“The work of the ministers obviously goes on. This is a very sad day for the people of Toronto and the people of Canada,” she said.

Officers were called to the scene — on Yonge Street at the corner with Finch Avenue — around 1:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. GMT), police said.

A white rental van with a dented front bumper was stopped on the sidewalk of a major intersection, surrounded by police vehicles.

“He was going really fast,” witness Alex Shaker told CTV television.
“All I could see was just people one by one getting knocked out, knocked out, one by one,” Shaker said. “There are so many people lying down on the streets.”

Another witness, Jamie Eopni, told local Toronto television station CP24: “It was crashing into everything. It destroyed a bench. If anybody was on that street, they would have been hit on the sidewalk.”

Though the act seemed “deliberate,” officials did not identify a terror link.

Canada has only rarely been the scene of terror attacks.

In October, a man stabbed a police officer in the western city of Edmonton before slamming his van into a group of pedestrians, hurting four people.

And in Quebec in October 2014, a Canadian man ran over two soldiers in a parking lot with his car, killing one of them. The driver was shot dead by police when he attacked them with a knife.

In March 2016, a Canadian who claimed to have radical Islamist sympathies attacked two soldiers at a military recruitment center in Toronto.

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