2020 Toronto hammer attack
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On 21 February 2020, a woman was randomly attacked and killed by a terrorist with an hammer in a street in Toronto, Canada.
On 21 February 2020, at 7.15 p.m, a 65-year-old woman was walking in Sheppard Ave. E. and Markham Rd, Toronto when she was randomly attacked by a man. The attacker hit her with an hammer, killing the woman at the scene. The victim was chosen at random.
After the attack, the assaulter placed a suspicious package at the front desk of Toronto Police Service’s 42 Division station and threatened police officer, quoting that he was in possession of an explosive device, prompting an evacuation of the police station. It is not known if the package was inert all along, or whether a real explosive or dangerous substance inside it was deactivated in some way by the CBRNE team.
The perpetrator, identified as 30-year-old local man named Saad A., was arrested at the police station he threatened. Investigators found that Saad committed the murder for terrorist motives, targeting a random civilian. He left a note under the victim's body, in which he expressed support for terrorism.
The low-sophistication of the attack is the expression of a new challenge against terrorism, according to experts, as it represents a recently-growing form by lone attackers who use low-cost weapons and represents a new type of threat. The attack is considered a copy-cat attack, inspired by the 2019 London Bridge stabbing and the 2020 Streatham stabbing, in which both attackers used low-cost weapons and had a fake suicide bomb vest. Investigators are investigating if Saad had contact with other extremists as he was inspired by Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
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