The man who stabbed Canadian soldiers at a recruitment center in Toronto has claimed that “Allah” told him to carry out the attack, The National Post reports.
The stabber has been identified as 27-year-old Ayanle Hassan Ali, who was born in Montreal and moved to Toronto in 2011. He was arrested after Monday's attack and charged with three counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
Ali appeared briefly in bail court Tuesday afternoon. He wore a white, prison-issue jump suit and spoke only to say his own name, according to The National Post.
Outside the courthouse, his lawyer, David Burke, described Ali as very scared and unhappy.
“This is a very serious incident, nobody can deny that,” Burke said. “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.”
The attorney wouldn’t say much about his client. He refused to say if he was employed or studying or who he lived with. He did say Ali “seems like an intelligent enough young man.”
Ali was briefly hospitalized after his arrest. But Burke said he has not yet asked for a mental health assessment.
“I probably know as much about the actual facts surrounding the case as you people do,” he said, according to The National Post.
Police say Ali walked into a Canadian Forces office in north Toronto and attacked several soldiers inside with a large knife.
“While at the scene, the accused stated: 'Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come here and kill people,’” Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
The two soldiers were taken to hospital, where they were treated and released later on Monday.
Saunders also said that so far there is no evidence Ali worked with anyone or with any organization.
There have been two other terrorist attacks on Canadian forces recently. In October of 2014, a terrorist shot and killed a soldier near the Canadian parliament in Ottawa.
That attack came a week after a 25-year-old who converted to Islam rammed his car into two soldiers in the Quebec town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and was shot dead by police. One of the soldiers later died.
Last month, Canada arrested 60 people who returned to the country after having joined foreign terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS).