(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)
TORONTO, Canada — Nine people were killed and 16 people were hurt after a van plowed into pedestrians in central Toronto on Monday, police said. The driver, who was armed, was in custody, they said without specifying the motive.
Television images showed the man and a police officer facing 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, but the motive for Monday’s incident was not yet clear.
“At this point, it’s too early to tell what if any motive there was. We are also unable right now to tell the extent or the number of persons injured,” Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said.
A witness,” Phil Zullo, told Canadian Press that he saw police arresting a man who had been driving a Ryder rental truck, and saw people “strewn all over the road” where the incident occurred.
“It must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers,” Zullo said. “It was awful. Brutal.”
“He was going really fast,” one 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.”
Toronto paramedic spokeswoman Kim McKinnon said first responders were on scene treating multiple patients, but would not confirm the number or severity of injuries.
Local media reported that the van fled the scene, but police subsequently said it had been located and the driver was in custody.
A video circulating on social media purported to show the arrested driver, though this was not confirmed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke briefly about the incident in Parliament.
“Our hearts go out to anyone affected,” he said. “We’re obviously going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said that as far as it knew, no Israelis were injured in the incident. It confirmed that all workers at Israel’s Consulate in the city were safe.
The incident occurred as Toronto was hosting a meeting of public security ministers from the G7 leading industrialized nations, and on the heels of a weekend gathering in the city for the foreign ministers from the same seven countries — the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada.
Canada has largely been spared the violence of Islamist terrorists, although it has not been entirely immune.
Last October, a man stabbed a police officer in the western city of Edmonton before slamming his van into a group of pedestrians, injuring 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.
And 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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