Attempted murder charges laid in Edmonton attack; investigators looking into terrorism

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An attack on a police officer outside a football game and a high-speed chase that injured four people in the western city of Edmonton are being investigated as acts of terrorism, Canadian police said on Sunday.

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif faces five counts of attempted murder, four counts of unsafe driving causing bodily harm, risky operation of a motor vehicle and one weapons-related charge.

Canada defended its immigration and refugee vetting system on Monday after a Somali immigrant, who had drawn scrutiny for his alleged extremist views, was charged with attempted murder for a weekend vehicle and knife attack that injured five.

Sharif is scheduled to appear in provincial court for a bail hearing on the sworn charges on Tuesday morning.

"The Edmonton police has arrested and placed in custody a man whom we believe to be responsible for these acts of violence", said Rod Knecht, chief, Edmonton police.

Outside the stadium, Edmonton police Const. Mike Chernyk, with his marked, flashing cruiser was handling crowd control and security when a speeding white Chevy Malibu rammed through a barrier and hit his vehicle, sending him flying five metres through the air.

The Malibu driver then got out and began stabbing the officer.

Police investigate at the scene where a man hit pedestrians, then flipping the U-Haul truck he was driving, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Oct. 1, 2017.

"He was in a struggle for his life, holding onto his gun with one hand and blocking the knife with his other", Knecht said Sunday.

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The officer, who suffered serious stabbing wounds to his head, face, and arm, is expected to make a full recovery.

On Sunday, RCMP assistant commissioner Marlin Degrand said the suspect was checked thoroughly in 2015, after police received a report that he may have been radicalized.

The auto struck a police officer standing in front of his patrol vehicle, "sending him flying 15 feet through the air" before crashing into his vehicle, according to a statement by local police.

Knecht said when the U-haul pulled over for the checkpoint, the driver produced identification linking him to the registered owner of the Malibu. Police used a flashbang to distract the driver. Four pedestrians were hospitalized after being intentionally struck, one of whom has a fractured skull.

Investigators determined at that time that he did not pose a threat.

"We go on the information we have at the time", said Cardoso.

"No shots were fired".

Knecht said the assailant was known to police, but did not release his name.

"Well said, Minister. Canadians' resolve has been tested this weekend, but I know, as always, we will come through united".