Sequence of events leading to Canada police thwarting attack

Aaron Driver. PHOTO: REUTERS

Aaron Driver. PHOTO: REUTERS

OTTAWA, CANADA: A 24-year-old Canadian shot dead by federal police after setting off an explosion in the back seat of a cab had earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Authorities said Aaron Driver was on his way to carry out an attack on a unspecified urban target. Here is the sequence of events, from the first hints of the suspect’s radicalisation to his death, according to police:

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– In December 2014, Aaron Driver expresses support in social media posts for an Islamic convert’s killing of an unarmed ceremonial guard and attempted storming of parliament in Ottawa.

– In April 2015, he reaches out to a British youth who is later arrested on terrorism charges related to a militant plot against an Anzac Day parade in Australia.

– In May 2015, he receives a Twitter message from Elton Simpson, one of two American militants who would later die in an attack on a Texas exhibition of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

– Police arrest Driver on June 4, 2015 in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he was living at the time, and accuse him of having had “knowledge of a terrorist attack.” On his computer, they discover a recipe for a homemade explosive device.

– Driver is released in July 2015 under strict bail conditions requiring him to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and with a ban on accessing the internet. He moves in with his sister in Strathroy, Ontario, about 225 kilometers (140 miles) southwest of Toronto.

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– On Wednesday, August 10, at 8:30 am local time (1230 GMT), the US Federal Bureau of Investigation warns Canadian federal police of an imminent attack “within 72 hours” and hands over an intercepted video of a man dressed in black wearing a balaclava.

The person in the video says he aims to seek retribution for Ottawa’s participation in the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, saying: “You have Muslim blood on your hands, and for this we will have your blood.”

– At around 11 am, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police identify Driver as the man in the video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group.

– The RCMP anti-terrorism squad rushes to Strathroy, Ontario to try to intercept the suspect, while issuing a nationwide alert of a “possible terrorist threat.”

– At 4:30 pm, police spot and approach Driver as he is getting into a waiting cab outside the home where he lives with his sister.

– The suspect detonates a small explosive device in the back seat, lightly injuring the taxi driver, and is shot dead by police.

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