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Quebec man, 49, charged in stabbing of airport officer in Flint, Mich.

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, June 21, 2017 4:36PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 21, 2017 10:07PM EDT

FLINT, Mich. – A Quebec man entered an airport in Michigan on Wednesday morning, yelled ‘Allahu akbar’ and stabbed a security officer in the neck, according to U.S. federal prosecutors who said they are investigating the incident as an act of terrorism. Amor Ftouhi, 49, was arrested shortly after the incident and was charged with committing violence at an airport, FBI special agent in charge David Gelios told a news conference. Gelios said the incident happened at 9:45 a.m. at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, about 80 kilometres northwest of Detroit.

Ftouhi entered the United States legally in Lake Champlain, N.Y., on June 16 and made his way to Flint on Wednesday morning, he said.

We do know Mr. Ftouhi entered the airport, he spent a little time on the first level, then he went upstairs he spent some time in the restaurant up there, Gelios said.

Then he came out, he was carrying baggage. He went into a restroom. He spent a little time in the restroom. Dropped both bags and came out, pulled out a knife, yelled ‘Allahu akbar,’ and stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck. Lt. Jeff Neville with the Bishop International Airport police underwent surgery and his condition has been upgraded from critical to stable, said Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw. Authorities said they have no indication at this time that Ftouhi was involved in a wider plot, but the investigation is in its early stages.

The criminal complaint says Ftouhi stabbed Neville with a large knife and declared Allahu akbar, the Arabic phrase for God is great. The FBI, which is leading the investigation, said Ftouhi said something similar to you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.

As we progress and take this matter to grand jury for indictment, other charges could be pending later on, Gelios said. It’s an ongoing investigation, there are joint operations going on in Canada as we speak. We want to thank our Canadian partners who are helping us further investigate this attack. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the incident a heinous and cowardly attack.

There is complete co-operation between the RCMP and other Canadian authorities and agencies with all of their counterparts in the United States and we will do everything we possibly can to assist in this matter, Goodale told reporters in Ottawa. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that he is proud of the swift response by authorities from both nations.

He said the attack is being investigated as an act of terrorism and added it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Canadian TV footage showed police escorting at least one person away from a four-storey Montreal apartment building where the suspect is believed to have lived. There was a significant police presence outside the building. City police spokesman Benoit Boiselle said officers with the department were assisting the RCMP in a search of the apartment.

He said the FBI requested the search after the attack. Meanwhile, witnesses in Flint described seeing the suspect led away in handcuffs by police, Neville bleeding and a knife on the ground.

The cop was on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck, Ken Brown told local media. Cherie Carpenter, who was awaiting a flight to Texas to see her new grandchild, told a local TV station she saw the attacker being led away in handcuffs. She described the man in custody as appearing blank, just totally blank.

Montreal police spokesman Benoit Boiselle said officers with the department are assisting the RCMP in a search of an apartment in the city. Boiselle said the FBI requested the search after the attack. A number of police stood guard outside of the apartment building in the east end of Montreal. It’s located on Belair St. in St-Michel borough.

Man who stabbed Michigan police officer a Canadian resident: FBI

A Quebec man entered an airport in Michigan on Wednesday, yelled Allahu akbar and stabbed a security officer in the neck, according to U.S. federal prosecutors who said they are investigating the incident as an act of terrorism. Amor Ftouhi, 49, was arrested shortly after the incident and was charged with committing violence at an airport, FBI special agent in charge David Gelios told a news conference. Gelios said the incident happened at 9:45 a.m. at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, about 80 kilometres northwest of Detroit.

Ftouhi entered the United States legally in Lake Champlain, N.Y., on June 16 and made his way to Flint on Wednesday morning, he said.

We do know Mr. Ftouhi entered the airport, he spent a little time on the first level, then he went upstairs he spent some time in the restaurant up there, Gelios said.

Then he came out, he was carrying baggage. He went into a restroom. He spent a little time in the restroom. Dropped both bags and came out, pulled out a knife, yelled Allahu akbar, and stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck. Lt. Jeff Neville with the Bishop International Airport police underwent surgery and his condition was upgraded from critical to stable, said Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw. Ftouhi appeared in federal court later Wednesday and heard the charge against him. He will get a court-appointed attorney and court spokesman David Ashenfelter said he will remain in custody until a bond hearing next Wednesday.

Authorities said there was no immediate indication Ftouhi was involved in a wider plot, but the investigation is in its early stages. The criminal complaint says Ftouhi stabbed Neville with a large knife and declared Allahu akbar, the Arabic phrase for God is great. The FBI, which is leading the investigation, said Ftouhi said something similar to you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.

As we progress and take this matter to grand jury for indictment, other charges could be pending later on, Gelios said. It s an ongoing investigation, there are joint operations going on in Canada as we speak. We want to thank our Canadian partners who are helping us further investigate this attack. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the incident a heinous and cowardly attack.

There is complete co-operation between the RCMP and other Canadian authorities and agencies with all of their counterparts in the United States and we will do everything we possibly can to assist in this matter, Goodale told reporters in Ottawa.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement he was proud of the swift response by authorities from both nations. He said the attack was being investigated as an act of terrorism and added it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Canadian TV footage showed police escorting at least one person away from a four-storey Montreal apartment building where the suspect is believed to have lived. There was a significant police presence outside the building.

City police spokesman Benoit Boiselle said officers with the department were assisting the RCMP in a search of the apartment. He said the FBI requested the search after the attack. Meanwhile, witnesses in Flint described seeing the suspect led away in handcuffs by police, Neville bleeding and a knife on the ground.

The cop was on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck, Ken Brown told local media.

Cherie Carpenter, who was awaiting a flight to Texas to see her new grandchild, told a local TV station she saw the attacker being led away in handcuffs. She described the man in custody as appearing blank, just totally blank.

With files from The Associated Press

Politics briefing newsletter: Republicans win close shave in Georgia

Good morning,

$72.6-million[1] was spent on Canada s 2015 federal election, which lasted 78 days. Roughly $73-million[2] (Canadian) was spent on the special election for Georgia s 6th district, in which more than 60 days passed in between the first and second rounds of voting. After it all, Republican Karen Handel defeated[3] Democrat Jon Ossoff to win the seat 52 per cent to 48. The race had been hyped as a referendum on U.S. President Donald Trump and a bellwether for a 2018 midterm cycle during which Democrats face an uphill battle[4] to regain the House (241-194 Republican) and a daunting[5] task to win back the Senate (52-48 Republican). Democrats have been desperate for a victory at the ballot box in the Trump era but so far have been unable to turn a red seat blue. In four special elections where the seat was vacated by a Republican, Democrats have lost all four races. But the Republican margin in each victory was reduced significantly in each race: From 31 points to 7 in the Kansas 4th, 12 to 6 in Montana s lone seat, 23 to 4 in the Georgia 6th and 20 to 3 in the South Carolina 5th, the other election that was held last night. While there are few moral victories in politics, Democrats are showing strength in Republican strongholds and these results point to a shift that is slowly occurring in the U.S., one that may be exacerbated by a deeply unpopular[6] health-care bill and the steady trickle of news on the Trump-Russia[7] file.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay[8] in Ottawa and Mayaz Alam[9] in Toronto, with James Keller[10] in Vancouver. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here[11]. Let us know

CANADIAN HEADLINES

Members of Parliament are itchy to get back to their ridings for the summer, but they must stay in Ottawa at least one day longer to deal with Senate amendments[13] to the budget bill. Senators voted last night to remove automatic increases from a new tax on alcohol. Separately, Conservative senators have continued to delay[14] a final vote on a bill that seeks to make the national anthem more gender neutral. A major lawsuit challenging Canada s use of solitary confinement will press ahead[15], despite a bill tabled this week by the Liberals to restrict the practice.

The Commons veterans committee says the government should continue looking into the long-term health effects[16] of the antimalarial drug mefloquine, starting with contacting former soldiers who were given the medicine in the 1990s. The former head of Latvia s military says Canada and other NATO allies will have to remain[17] in Eastern Europe indefinitely to guard against future expansionism from Russian President Vladimir Putin. If the economy does well and oil prices go up again, maybe [Mr. Putin] won t need to use an external enemy to calm down internal problems, Retired lieutenant-general Raimonds Graube told The Globe. A major Ottawa think tank — which recently completed a government-commissioned report into the state of the media industry — appears to be leading a campaign[18] to persuade Canadians about a free-trade deal with China. The Public Policy Forum is headed by Edward Greenspon, a former editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail.

The Liberal government will make a wave of new patronage appointments this week as it begins to tackle a backlog of federal government and crown-corporation positions, iPolitics reports[19]. The government began yesterday with the announcement of an advisory council that will vet appointees to the CBC board. The council will be led by[20] retired Global/CTV broadcaster Tom Clark. And former House clerks and some MPs say they are surprised the acting House of Commons clerk didn t get a promotion[21].

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail)[22] on the new national security bill: This is really about new watchers to watch the watchers. Canadian spy agencies aren t really seeing their powers trimmed, not even the new powers they obtained under the Conservative anti-terror law. Mostly, they remain intact. Instead, there are more levels of approvals, a few tighter definitions of the limits, an Intelligence Commissioner to preauthorize surveillance activities and a big new review agency to watch how spy powers are used. (for subscribers)

Wesley Wark (The Globe and Mail)[23] on the same: Why is this big package a big surprise? Well, mostly because it eschews the easy and maybe politically expedient path of tinkering with the existing system. If Canada can make this new system work, it will return the country to the forefront of democracies determined to hold their security and intelligence systems to account, to avoid abuse and illegal activity, and to ensure sufficient public legitimacy. Canada may have restored its place in the world as it pertains to national security review and democratic controls, a place we gave up after 1984.

Natan Obed (The Globe and Mail)[24] on the Inuit language: Canada has dreamed up a myriad of ways to control its fiduciary relationship with Inuit, but at the same time has imagined we as Inuit are not Canadian enough to be worthy of services, supports and infrastructure deemed necessary for all other Canadians to thrive. Yet we have been resilient and work to address these challenges, such as our work to revitalize, maintain and increase the use of Inuktut.

Renu Mandhane (The Globe and Mail)[25] on what should come next for solitary: Under international human-rights law, no prisoners should spend more than 15 consecutive days in solitary confinement and people with mental-health disabilities should never be held for 22-24 hours a day with little or no human interaction. In light of these standards, Bill C-56 should be considered as a floor, not a ceiling. The provinces and territories, including Ontario, can, and should, do better.

Tammy Robert (Maclean s)[26] on the declining popularity of Saskatchewan s governing party: The real problem is simple but undeniable: in a province that has split its political perspective along the dividing line of old and new, there s now an old Brad Wall and a new one. And the Old Brad Wall used to get us and the New Brad Wall doesn t.

Nisa Malli (Policy Options)[27] on the future of the public service: As the public gets more engaged in policy issues, it is more important than ever for public servants to translate what we do and why; to explain the procedural, legal and ethical constraints that bind us; and to show the sweat and tears that go into the making of government. Many in my generation of bureaucrats are trying to figure how to navigate and balance our role in democracy as public servants and private citizens, our professional online presence and our personal one, our day job and our volunteer side projects. It s complicated, and it s critical to the future of our profession.

B.C. UPDATE

The imminent confidence vote that s expect to take down B.C. s Liberal minority government has focused attention on parliamentary rules that are hardly ever talked about, let alone put into practice. And no one s entirely sure how it will unfold. Who will become the Speaker? Will the NDP-Green power alliance survive? Will there be a snap election? To find out what happens next, check out our interactive explainer[28], where we ve mapped out how things are likely to unfold, and the numerous twists that could emerge along the way. And even though they could be days away from defeat, the governing BC Liberals plan to present a Throne Speech on Thursday that s expected to lay out a fresh set of promises designed to atone for the party s poor election result. And they re using the speech to mount what s effectively a second election campaign[29], with Premier Christy Clark making stops across the province to shore up support. The New Democrats and the Greens have staged similar events a tacit acknowledgement that all three parties are bracing for the possibility that the next step for the province is an election rather than an NDP government.

INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES

Queen Elizabeth II spoke in front of the U.K. parliament[30] today as part of the Queen s Speech. (It s the historical predecessor to Throne Speeches in Canada). The speech, which was written by the ruling Conservative Party but read out by the Queen as per parliamentary custom, focused on what the Tories agenda will be moving forward for the next two years and was dominated by Brexit. The speech scaled back on some of the campaign pledges British Prime Minister Theresa May made during an election campaign that saw her majority reduced to a tenuous minority. So shaky is that minority that no deal[31] has been reached to prop up the government between the Conservatives and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party despite more than 10 days of talks. Five feet. That s how far a Russian jet[32] was from a U.S. Air Force plane over the Baltic Sea. It s been several straight days that the U.S. and Russia have faced a close military encounter. On Monday, Russia threatened[33] a U.S. aircraft as part of the coalition in Syria in response to the U.S. shooting down a Syrian warplane[34] on Sunday. Diplomatic ties between the two countries are tense as well, with the U.S. sanctioning[35] 38 Russian individuals and organizations over the annexation of Crimea. Exxon Mobil. Shell. BP. These are just a few of energy powerhouses in the business world that are backing a carbon pricing plan in the U.S. that s being put forth by two Republicans as the most efficient and effective way to combat[36] global warming. While the rest of their party has largely ignored the impacts of human-made climate change, George Shultz and James Baker are putting forth the plan, which is supported by General Motors, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. The plan is being billed as a tax and dividend piece of legislation that would replace less efficient regulations targeted at cutting emissions and would give a rebate to citizens.

In Brazil, federal police say that investigators have come across evidence that President Michel Temer received bribes[37]. Mr. Temer s support within the electorate is dwindling, with his approval rating now in the single digits. In light of the new evidence, investigators say they have enough to launch a formal investigation of Mr. Temer.

And the U.S. government consistently argued that the trove of classified documents leaked by Chelsea Manning were extremely harmful to national security. According to a Department of Defense report, however, the impact of the leaks did not adversely affect U.S. interests, BuzzFeed reports[38].

Lloyd Axworthy and Paul Heinbecker (The Globe and Mail)[39] on the refugee crisis: It is manifestly in the interests of all states to fix the broken refugee system. What is needed are innovations in public policy, new forms of international co-operation and governance, novel approaches to financing and business development to empower refugees, and new technologies to facilitate solutions for their plights. Political leaders, civil society and business need to unite to change the refugee narrative from one of risk to one of opportunity. No country is better placed than Canada to lead that effort.

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail)[40] on the Canada-U.S. relationship: Try as he might, Mr. Trump won t be able to break the continental ties that bind. Try as it might, Ottawa won t be able to cut them either. They re 150 years in the making. They re too embedded.

Shaista Aziz (The Globe and Mail)[41] on Finsbury Park and extremism: What drove this man to allegedly commit this act of terrorism? In order to answer this question, we need to understand the context behind the attack. It is vital if we really want to confront the roots of extremism. The attack in Finsbury Park took place against the backdrop of a rise in Islamophobic hate crimes, racist violence and an increase in far-right extremist activity in the U.K. We absolutely must not ignore the evidence.

Report Typo/Error[42]

Follow Chris Hannay on Twitter: @channay[43]

More Related to this Story

References

  1. ^ $72.6-million (www.cbc.ca)
  2. ^ Roughly $73-million (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ defeated (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ uphill battle (www.msnbc.com)
  5. ^ daunting (www.realclearpolitics.com)
  6. ^ deeply unpopular (www.huffingtonpost.ca)
  7. ^ Trump-Russia (www.theglobeandmail.com)
  8. ^ Chris Hannay (twitter.com)
  9. ^ Mayaz Alam (twitter.com)
  10. ^ James Keller (twitter.com)
  11. ^ here (www.theglobeandmail.com)
  12. ^

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