'Terror' - man charged with 5 murder attempts
POLICE in Canada have charged a refugee with five counts of attempted murder.
They said he stabbed a police officer and hit several pedestrians with a car in the western city of Edmonton.
Officials have called it an act of terrorism. The suspect is a 30-year-old Somali man police did not name. Local media said he was Abdulahi Hasan Sharif.
He had been investigated two years ago for promoting extremism but had not been deemed a threat, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said.
RCMP assistant commissioner Marlin Degrand said an "exhaustive investigation” into the man in 2015 did not uncover sufficient evidence to pursue charges.
The attacks started with a Chevrolet Malibu hitting an officer controlling traffic near a football stadium at about 8pm on Saturday, sending him flying.
The driver got out and stabbed the officer multiple times then fled, according to police and video footage.
A few hours later, a drink driving check stop north of the city pulled in a rented van and the driver's licence showed the Malibu was his.
He took off in the van and was caught after a chase in which he hit four pedestrians then flipped the van.
An Islamic State flag was found inside the Malibu, Rod Knecht, police chief of Edmonton, said.
"To the best of our knowledge, this was a lone-wolf attack,” Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said.
"There's no immediate cause for panic or concern.”
The stabbed police officer was released from a hospital on Sunday as were two pedestrians.
A third pedestrian was in a stable condition and the fourth had regained consciousness.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack and called it "another example of the hate that we must remain ever vigilant against”.
The terrorist threat level stays at medium, where it has been since late 2014.
The suspect could face terror and murder-related charges.