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Islamic State supporter Aaron Driver killed in police raid

Suspected of plotting suicide bomb attack on major Canadian city

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/8/2016 (316 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A former Winnipeg man who was a known Islamic State sympathizer is dead following a police operation late Wednesday in the southern Ontario community of Strathroy.

Aaron Daniel Driver, 24, formerly of Charleswood, was living in Strathroy, 225 kilometres west of Toronto, after agreeing to a peace bond earlier this year that stopped him from communicating with Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

Aaron Driver

Aaron Driver

Driver was killed inside a Strathroy home and was suspected of plotting a suicide bomb attack in an unnamed major Canadian city. He was acting alone, media reported.

CTV News said "a loud explosion and gunshots" were reported by neighbours and the RCMP, a bomb squad and military special forces were involved in the operation.

Quoting "an internal government memo obtained by CTV News, the suspect allegedly planned to use an IED (improvised explosive device) to carry out a suicide bombing mission in a public area. His alleged plan, according to the document, was to create mass casualties.

"Officials feared that the plot could’ve been carried out on Wednesday during rush hour in a busy location," CTV added.

Driver, who also went by the alias Harun Abdourahman, was released on a peace bond in February with 12 conditions — some expiring in August and others in December. He was not facing criminal charges, and no trial was scheduled.

The peace bond meant federal justice officials believed there were reasonable grounds Driver might aid a terrorist group or terrorist activity.

Provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston ordered Driver not to have a computer or cellphone until Aug. 31.

As well, Driver was not to be in the possession of a firearm or explosives until the end of the year, and was prohibited from being on social media sites or contacting IS.

He was also ordered to live at an address in Strathroy.

Federal Crown attorney Ian Mahon said the restrictions for computers were to end in August for Driver because that’s when such things as a new school year were to begin.

"Computers are a necessary tool," Mahon said in February.

Last year, police raided a home in Charleswood and arrested Driver, not charging him but alleging he had ties to terrorist activity.

Federal justice officials applied for a peace bond, but Driver said he would fight it in court.

After a few days in custody, Driver was let out on bail.

Driver agreed to a word change in the peace bond from "will" to "may" in the line: "may participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, the activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of a terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity."

Driver also agreed to post a $1,000 bond, to meet with an RCMP officer in London, Ont., every two weeks, not go on any social media website, including Twitter, Facebook or Kik, and "not to contact or knowingly communicate… with any member of ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Al Qaida in Iraq or any affiliated groups."

Mahon said at the time that when Driver’s peace bond expires Dec. 1, "he’s done now unless there is a breach."

The peace bond, which Driver agreed to, is in place because he "may participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, the activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of a terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity."

Leonard Tailleur, Driver’s lawyer, could not be reached Wednesday.

Driver had been wearing a GPS ankle band but it was removed in February.

The Mounties said Wednesday they received credible information of a potential terrorist threat earlier in the day.

They said a suspect was identified and the "proper course of action has been taken" to ensure that there was no danger to the public.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he had spoken to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the events "to confirm that public safety has been and continues to be properly protected."

The RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other police and security agencies were involved in the operations, he added.

Taking all relevant information into account, the national terrorism threat level for Canada remains at "medium" where it has stood since the fall of 2014, Goodale added.

The RCMP said Wednesday because the matter was still unfolding and the investigation remained underway, there would be no further comment.

The Mounties planned to hold a news conference Thursday to provide details.

In Strathroy, resident Irene Lee said late Wednesday police had been camped out near her parents’ convenience store since about 4:15 p.m.

At about that time, she said she was at her home close by when she heard a loud noise.

She said shortly afterward, a police officer came by to tell residents to stay inside their homes.

Lee said there were up to 25 marked and unmarked cruisers outside a home on Park Street, which is right behind her parents’ store.

Ottawa was abuzz with rumours for much of Wednesday after a memo was circulated among National Defence personnel warning of a terrorist threat.

— staff / The Canadian Press

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Video: Driver leaves Winnipeg court in Feb. after accepting peace bond

History

Updated on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 10:39 PM CDT: updated, added video

10:48 PM: changed time reference

10:55 PM: Minor edit

10:59 PM: Added Google map

August 11, 2016 at 7:09 AM: Photo changed.

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