B.C. man facing terrorism charges for alleged ISIS-inspired bus attack

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Images from the scene show a 503 bus stopped on Fraser Highway near 148 Street. Source: CTV
Images from the scene show a 503 bus stopped on Fraser Highway near 148 Street. Source: CTV

A man from British Columbia, identified as Abdul Aziz Kawam and born in 1995, has been arrested and charged with four counts of terrorism related to an alleged ISIS-inspired attack on a transit bus in Surrey, B.C., on Saturday morning.

According to court documents filed by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Kawam allegedly committed the assault for “the Islamic State” – commonly known as ISIS. The charges include attempted murder, aggravated assault, and two counts of assault.

Canada News understands that the violent incident occurred just after 9:30 a.m. PT on a TransLink bus travelling near the Fraser Highway and 148 Street. The suspect allegedly threatened someone at a bus stop before boarding the bus and assaulting two people.

During an altercation between two men on board the bus, Kawam allegedly took out a knife and slashed the throat of one of the men near the back doors of the bus. The driver heard what was happening and pulled over. Approximately 20 people were on board at the time.

Police said the victim was able to push the suspect out of the back doors of the bus after being slashed. The victim was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries but is expected to recover fully.

Transit Police told CBC News that a nurse at the hospital said the victim only survived because the knife used in the attack was dull.

Before boarding the bus, Kawam allegedly approached another victim at a bus stop on Fraser Highway and 152 Street and “brandished the knife, holding it to the victim’s throat.”

According to Cst, a motive for the attack has not yet been determined. Amanda Steed of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, the suspect and the victim, were not known to each other.

Kawam appeared in court in Surrey on Monday morning. Fraser Highway and 148 Street intersection was closed on Saturday morning as police conducted inquiries. However, Steed confirmed that there was no ongoing threat to the public.

The incident has sparked concern about the potential for ISIS-inspired attacks in Canada. While Canada has not experienced the same level of jihadist violence as other Western countries, there have been a number of incidents in recent years, including the 2014 shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa and the 2017 truck attack in Edmonton.

Transit Police have asked anyone who witnessed the incident or has more information to contact them.