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Canadian Military Center Stabbing Suspect Allegedly Said 'Allah Told Me to Do This'

Ayanle? Hassan Ali, a Canadian citizen originally from Montreal, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and weapons dangerous. He has lived in Toronto since 2011.
Photo by Victor Biro/The Canadian Press

Toronto Police say a 27-year-old man who has been charged in a double stabbing at a military recruitment center on Monday allegedly uttered the words "Allah told me to come here and kill people."

Ayanle Hassan Ali, a Canadian citizen originally from Montreal, is facing nine charges, including three counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, three counts of assault with a weapon, and one count of weapons dangerous. He has lived in Toronto since 2011.


At a press conference on Tuesday, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said officers were looking into whether or not the incident was a terrorist act and whether or not the man had been radicalized. So far, there is nothing to indicate that the accused was working with anyone else, he said.

Saunders says the suspect stated 'Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come here and kill people.

— CP24 (@CP24)March 15, 2016

Saunders warns against turning to 'Islamophobia nonsense' and speculating to explain this incident

— Tamara Khandaker (@anima_tk)March 15, 2016

Ali was arrested after he allegedly walked into a recruitment center in northern Toronto Monday afternoon and attacked a uniformed member of the Canadian Forces who was behind the counter with a knife, Saunders told reporters. The man then attempted to go after other employees in the building, and stabbed another soldier, but further attacks were thwarted by a group of soldiers who contained him. The victims sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Photo of Ayanle Hassan Ali provided by Toronto Police

"This is a very serious incident, nobody can deny that," lawyer David Burke said following a brief court appearance by his client, who appeared in a white jump suit and only uttered his name. "I seen it in the news myself before I even became involved. I knew it was a serious incident… But I think at the end of the day it remains to be seen exactly what kind of person we're dealing with."


Saunders had previously told reporters on Monday that police are "strongly" considering whether the attacker was motivated by terrorism because of "certain comments" he made at the time, but wouldn't elaborate further because it's too early in the investigation.

"I want a full understanding of what was said, so I'm not giving bits and pieces," said Saunders.

"We're very fortunate that Canadian Forces, through their training, responded, reacted, and as a result, I can tell you that had they not reacted the changes of this being much more severe, much more serious definitely would've occurred," he added.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims called the attacks "reprehensible" and urged authorities to investigate the motivation at its root, and examine the perpetrator's mental state.

"We also would like to thank Toronto police chief Mark Saunders for advising the public against allowing this incident to lead to Islamphobia and anti-Muslim retribution," director Ihsaan Gardee wrote in a statement. "It is critical that both media and politicians are clear to distance the acts of this alleged criminal from the wider community. The vast majority of Canadian Muslims, like their fellow citizens of all faiths and backgrounds, abhor violence and condemn any and all criminal acts committed in the name of their faith."

My thoughts are with the — Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan)March 15, 2016


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Services have been notified of the attack.

A spokesperson for the RCMP called it an "isolated incident" and said there was no further risk to the public. A CSIS spokesperson told the CBC on Monday evening it wouldn't be adding comment since "this situation is presently under investigation by the Toronto Police."

Def Min's press sec "No suspicious activity had been observed by Cdn Armed Forces members who work in that location prior to the incident"
— Mercedes Stephenson (@CTVMercedes) March 15, 2016

The press secretary for the federal minister of defense, Harjit Sajjan, told CTV News that "no suspicious activity" had previously been observed by officials at the recruitment center, but they would "continue to exercise vigilance."

Deeply troubled by the attack on — Erin O'Toole (@ErinOTooleMP)March 15, 2016

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