RCMP say they were given information from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation saying that Aaron Driver was planning a terror attack targeting an urban centre during either morning or afternoon rush hour sometime this week.
Mike Cabana, the Deputy Commissioner of Federal Policy with the RCMP, gave the information at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, after Driver was killed during a police confrontation in Strathroy, Ont. on Wednesday evening.
“Very early [Wednesday] morning the RCMP received credible information from the FBI including a martyrdom video that had been prepared by an unknown individual that was clearly in the final stages of planning an attack using an homemade explosive device,” Cabana said.
He said they identified Aaron Driver as the individual in the video.
“O Canada, you have received many warnings. You were told many times what will become of those who fight against the Islamic State,” Driver says in the video.
RCMP say there’s no indication that Driver was working with any accomplices, but a second location in London, Ont. is under investigation, along with Driver’s house.
“As soon as the RCMP received the information, we immediately took action to ensure the public’s safety,” Cabana said.
“How quickly this was all established is actually a testament to the level of collaboration that exists between law enforcement agencies.”
U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman said in a statement that the response by police is “an example of the strong cross-border law enforcement cooperation that exists between Canada and the United States.”
More information on Strathroy police raid
Police said they were monitoring Driver Wednesday afternoon when around 4:30 p.m. he exited a residence in Strathroy, and entered a taxi. The RCMP then engaged with the suspect, who detonated a device in the back of the vehicle.
The driver of the taxi suffered minor injuries during the incident.
Driver was killed during subsequent engagement with police.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Strachan said the investigation was conducted by the Integrated National Security Enforcement team, led by the RCMP.
The INSET team was assisted by the RCMP emergency response team, the explosive disposal unit, the London Police Service, Strathroy-Caradoc police service and the Ontario Provincial Police, Strachan said.
Cabana said the incident “ended rather tragically, but could have had a completely different ending with a significantly greater loss of life.”
Driver had been previously arrested on suspicion he could have carried out a terrorist act, or helped a terror group.
Cabana said RCMP started investigating Driver in Dec. 2014. During the investigation police found he displayed an interest in travelling abroad, and was known to be communicating with two prominent members of the so-called Islamic State.
He was also in contact with Elton Simpson, one of the men responsible for the Curtis Culwell Center attack in May 2015 in Texas.
Police say he moved to Strathroy to live with his sister in July, 2015.