TORONTO — A suspect is dead after Canada’s national police force thwarted what an official said was a suicide bomb plot.
A senior police official said late Wednesday the suspect allegedly planned to use a bomb to carry out a suicide bombing mission in a public area but was killed in a police operation.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about details ahead of a Thursday news conference, identified the suspect as Aaron Driver.
Driver, originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and in his mid-20s, was under a court order from earlier this year to not associate with any terrorist organization, including the Islamic State.
In February, Driver’s lawyer and the prosecutor agreed to a peace bond stating there are “reasonable grounds to fear that he may participate, contribute directly or indirectly in the activity of a terrorist group.”
A police operation continued well into Wednesday night in the southern Ontario town of Strathroy, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) southwest of Toronto.
In Strathroy, resident Irene Lee said late Wednesday that 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 a street right behind her parents’ store.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police earlier said it halted a possible attack after receiving credible information of a potential terrorist threat.
They said a suspect was identified and the “proper course of action has been taken” to ensure there was no danger to public safety.
Canadian 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.
“These agencies conducted themselves effectively in the circumstances that developed today,” Goodale said in statement.
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 said.
Canada was the target of two separate lone wolf attacks in October 2014 in Quebec and Ottawa that resulted in the death of two soldiers.
In Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Montreal, a young man drove his car into two soldiers in a parking lot, killing one of them before being shot dead by police after a short chase.
Two days later on October 22, an attacker gunned down a ceremonial military guard and stormed parliament before being killed by security guards only meters from a room where the prime minister and his caucus were meeting.
Following these attacks, the Conservative government passed a bill giving the RCMP and Canada’s spy agency sweeping powers to thwart terror plots and prevent Canadian youth from flying overseas to join the Islamic State group in Syria.
Canada joined the US-led coalition against IS in September 2014.
After his Liberals unseated the Tories in a general election last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scaled back Canada’s participation in the coalition, ordering the withdrawal of Canadian fighter jets but increasing the number of military trainers in Iraq.
On several occasions, Trudeau has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to “fight terrorism in all its forms” and work closely with allies.