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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.

US shoots down armed Iranian-made drone as tensions mount in the skies over Syria

A US fighter jet has shot down a pro-Syrian regime drone, marking at least the fourth time in a month that American forces have directly clashed with Bashar al-Assad s troops and their allies and raising fears of a broader escalation in Syria.

US officials said the armed Iranian-made drone was shot down on Monday as it neared the al-Tanf base[1] in southern Syria, where American and British special forces train Syrian rebels[2] for the fight against Islamic State (Isil). The drone was shot down one day after the US destroyed a Syrian regime warplane for the first time[3], prompting Russia to threaten any coalition aircraft that entered areas where its air forces are flying. The Russian threat prompted Australia to suspend its bombing missions in Syria as part of the anti-Isil coalition, and raised fears that the US may be edging towards a full-on confrontation with Iran and Russia.

With the skies over Syria growing increasingly crowded, a statement from the Australian Defense Department released in the capital, Canberra, said that “Australian Defense Force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats.” Australia has six fighter jets based in the United Arab Emirates that strike targets in Syria and Iraq.

This is a dangerous escalation, said Christopher Murphy, a Democrat US senator. We have to understand what we re getting involved in. You re not just fighting Bashar al-Assad. If you re going to ramp up militarily against Assad you re also going up against Iran and Russia.

US Shoots Down Armed Iranian-made Drone As Tensions Mount In The Skies Over Syria

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, is trying to de-escalate tensions with Russia Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The US military said the Syrian plane it shot down had targeted an American-allied, Kurdish-led force that is battling Isil extremists in their de facto capital, Raqqa[4]. That led Russia[5], a close ally of the Syrian regime, to warn that it would target US-led coalition planes flying west of the Euphrates River. In retaliation Moscow also suspended a hotline intended to avoid collisions. Meanwhile, an armed Russian warplane flew within five feet of a US reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea on Monday. US officials said the armed Su-27 buzzed past the American aircraft in a way that was provocative and unsafe . In another first, Iran – another close Assad ally – fired ballistic missiles at Isil targets in eastern Syria, in the province of Deir el-Zour, later on Sunday. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard described the strike as revenge for Isil attacks on Tehran earlier this month[6] that killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 50.

A spokesman for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Ramazan Sharif, said all six ballistic missiles it launched on Syria hit their targets, according to “local sources and drone films.” Sharif told The Associated Press that the missile launch reflected Iran’s “military power,” though Iran has no intention of starting another war.

The remarks came amid questions whether the strike had been effective. It was not known what exactly was hit and Iran has provided no details. Israeli security officials said Monday they were studying the missile strike to see what they could learn about its accuracy and capabilities.

Profile | Bashar al-Assad[7]

In the Syrian capital, Damascus, rebels fired artillery shells from the suburbs into the city, wounding at least three people, according to the state news agency SANA. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the eastern neighborhood of Jobar was struck on Tuesday by 12 airstrikes, adding that government forces are trying to push into the area. Fighting and bombardment also resumed early on Tuesday in the contested city of Daraa and nearby areas where a 48-hour truce went into effect on Saturday. The truce was meant to be extended but now appears to have collapsed. A Syrian military official in Damascus said the truce was not extended. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

“The situation is back as it was in Daraa city and fighting is ongoing,” said Daraa-based opposition activist Ahmad al-Masalmeh. “The regime made the truce and then violated it.”

The Observatory also reported that government troops had captured a hill west of the city and a former army base that was held by rebels. It said government helicopters dropped 55 barrel bombs on Daraa while warplanes carried out about 20 airstrikes.

Daraa is where Syria’s crisis first broke out in March 2011 as an uprising against Assad’s government. The crisis quickly became a civil war, which has since left at least 400,000 people dead.

The push by the Syrian government forces in the Daraa area appears headed for the Jordanian border, two weeks after Assad’s troops reached the border with Iraq for the first time in years.

Syrian control and airforce capabilities[8]

References

  1. ^ the al-Tanf base (www.news4security.co.uk)
  2. ^ where American and British special forces train Syrian rebels (www.news4security.co.uk)
  3. ^ the US destroyed a Syrian regime warplane for the first time (www.news4security.co.uk)
  4. ^ battling Isil extremists in their de facto capital, Raqqa (www.news4security.co.uk)
  5. ^ Russia (www.news4security.co.uk)
  6. ^ Isil attacks on Tehran earlier this month (www.news4security.co.uk)
  7. ^ Profile | Bashar al-Assad (cf-particle-html.eip.news4security.co.uk)
  8. ^ Syrian control and airforce capabilities (particle-html.eip.news4security.co.uk)

Inside the subterranean vault that holds the secrets of Canada’s oldest bank

The soul of Canada s oldest bank lies beneath the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal in a vault protected by the guardians of history. At Bank of Montreal s head office, a 60s-era edifice overlooking the Place d Armes square in this Quebec city, an elevator descends four floors to the subterranean home of one of Canada s oldest corporate archives. There, in a vault guarded by a steel door and shielded from public access, lies a collection spanning two centuries.

Inside The Subterranean Vault That Holds The Secrets Of Canada's Oldest BankChristinne Muschi/Bloomberg

The objects within weave a narrative that threads through North American history of an English bank that emerged half a century before Canada became a country. Bank of Montreal helped grease the wheels of commerce beyond just the British colonies that later formed part of Canada by issuing its own bank notes that served as a source of currency exchange and aided trade and business among Montreal, New York, Chicago and even London.

The archives are the soul of the bank, said Yolaine Toussaint, chief archivist, who shares a basement office with a couple of staff. You are what you are because of your past. Among the treasures are about 1,120 pieces of currency, 18,500 photos, 9,800 documents, more than 1,370 films, VHS tapes and recordings, and about 1,290 artifacts from a time capsule and a security guard s revolver to office equipment and promotional materials. In the vault, protected by temperatures of about 15.6 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit) and 35 per cent humidity, rests the most prized possession: the Articles of Association of the Montreal Bank.

This leather-bound tome marks the genesis of Canadian banking. Between its covers are 19 pages of handwritten rules such as capital stock shall not exceed 250,000 pounds each signed at the bottom by the nine founders in June 1817. Seven additional pages list the Bank of Montreal s first shareholders.

It s like a baby, you have to be very careful, Toussaint said as she gently turned the pages. This is one of the key documents we felt had to be preserved. Bank of Montreal s historic milestone comes in a year when Canadians are marking the nation s 150th birthday.

Inside The Subterranean Vault That Holds The Secrets Of Canada's Oldest BankChristinne Muschi/Bloomberg

On gaining nationhood in 1867 through a process known as Confederation, the nascent federal government made Bank of Montreal its go-to banker. The institution helped finance the first telegraph line between Toronto and Montreal, as well as the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway that linked the country in 1886. Bank dealings are noted in aging books and hefty loose-leaf ledgers. There are records from lenders acquired long ago forgotten names such as the Bank of the People, the Bank of British North America and Molsons Bank. There are whimsical mechanical piggy banks dating back to the 1870s, a wax-melting pot to seal letters, and a 15 pound check signed Aug. 13, 1851, from George-Etienne Cartier, one of the fathers of Confederation.

Inside The Subterranean Vault That Holds The Secrets Of Canada's Oldest BankChristinne Muschi/Bloomberg

Then there are objects that show the bank s reach beyond Montreal. This collection includes eight letters with orders from English writer Rudyard Kipling still considered confidential information between the bank and its client. There s a signature card for Henry Ford and his wife Clara, dating back to 1922, from the bank s Chicago branch, and a scale from the Klondike gold rush, retrieved from a branch in the Yukon s Dawson City. One of Toussaint s favorite items is a June 4, 1868, handwritten letter from one of Bank of Montreal s original seven employees, an accountant named Henry Dupuy. Asked to recount his memories of the early days, Dupuy s testimony spans 18 pages of sweeping penmanship and includes a tale of a perilous stagecoach journey in a February 1832 storm. The harness broke while transporting a pretty large sum of coins up a steep hill, forcing Dupuy and his driver to wade through snow nearly up to their hips to reunite coach and cargo.

Inside The Subterranean Vault That Holds The Secrets Of Canada's Oldest BankChristinne Muschi/Bloomberg

Those letters are the first evidence of the bank s oral history, written history this is a wow piece , Toussaint said. Even back then, when the bank was 50 years young, they were already thinking about recording their history. Dupuy wouldn t recognize his bank today. He toiled in the firm s first building, erected in 1819 and now long gone, replaced by Bank of Montreal s 17-story head office that houses the archives. History also lingers next door at the Montreal Main Branch, a neoclassical structure that opened in 1847 and is distinguished by a rooftop dome and a portico with six Corinthian columns.

Inside The Subterranean Vault That Holds The Secrets Of Canada's Oldest BankChristinne Muschi/Bloomberg

A corridor linking the branch and head office houses a one-room museum open to the public, showcasing a replica of the bank s original building interior with dark wood floorboards. There s also a mannequin of the first teller a Bostonian named Henry Stone behind a brass cage, a symbol of the safety and security of banking of the time. There are tidbits from the archives: a reproduction of a painting of Dupuy s snowy mishap, early money samples including a $3 Bank of Montreal note from 1844, telegraph code books from 1907 and objects from takeovers such as the 1984 purchase of Chicago-based Harris Bank.

If you want to invest in your future, you have to understand the past, Toussaint said. We re in a very good position to assist and help the new generation of bankers to understand and capitalize on its past and rich origins.

Bloomberg.com[1]

References

  1. ^ Bloomberg.com (www.bloomberg.com)
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