A suspect accused of slashing a person’s throat on a bus in Surrey, B.C., on Saturday has been charged with four terrorism-related offences in an attack that left a man with life-threatening injuries.
RCMP say Abdul Aziz Kawam is charged with attempting to commit murder in association with a terrorist group, assault causing bodily harm in association with a terrorist group, aggravated assault in association with a terrorist group and assault with a weapon in association with a terrorist group.
Kawam, who was born in 1995, originally faced eight separate charges, including attempted murder and assault along with four counts that he acted for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.
However, the RCMP say the amended charges relate to allegations that the assaults were carried out for the Islamic State.
Metro Vancouver Transit Police say they discovered during their investigation that the suspect made several concerning comments, leading investigators to notify the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team.
RCMP say the enforcement team consulted with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada on the terrorism charges.
“We remain committed to uncovering all the facts relating to this disturbing and unprovoked assault,” RCMP Supt. David Teboul, acting deputy criminal operations officer for the federal policing branch, said in a release Monday.
Kawam appeared in Surrey provincial court Monday. He remains in custody and is to appear in court again on Wednesday.
The terror charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Police said the knife attack took place on a bus near the intersection of 148th Street and Fraser Highway.
Transit police said one man allegedly took out a knife and slashed the other across the throat before being arrested at the scene by transit police and Surrey RCMP.
Transit police said that the suspect also allegedly held a knife to the throat of another individual at a bus stop about four blocks away before the slashing attack. That person was able to push the assailant away and escape unharmed.
The person whose throat was slashed is expected to make a full recovery, according to CBC News.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2023. With files from CBC Vancouver.