Aaron Driver, a Canadian man, was killed Wednesday by police officers after releasing a video pledging allegiance to ISIS and promising to carry out a bombing on Canadian soil, BBC News is reporting.
Canadian authorities received a tip from the FBI that a balaclava-wearing suicide wannabe was on the verge of carrying out a bombing in Canada and provided a screenshot and subsequently a video of the masked man.
A few hours later, the Canadian police had identified Aaron Driver and in a race against time, scrambled to intercept him at a house he shared with his sister in a small town in Southern Ontario.
The 24-year-old had planned to carry out his senseless bombing in a public place during rush hour traffic. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commander Jennifer Strachan said police intercepted Driver just in time, as he got into a taxi with a backpack. Aaron, who worked as a local mechanic, refused to give up and detonated the explosive device before he was shot by police.
The taxi driver, Terry Duffield, who jumped out of the car just in the nick of time, described the ISIS sympathizer as a “frequent and friendly customer.” Duffield had no obvious injuries, but complained about having a very sore back.
Alecia Pereira, a next door neighbor to Aaron, said she was watching TV when she heard ruckus coming over the fence. She said she looked out and saw police officers and several snipers.
“It looked like something out of a movie or a Criminal Minds show,” she said.
On Friday, the Aamaq news agency, media arm of the terrorist group ISIS, identified Aaron as a “soldier of the Islamic State,” but stated that he made the mistake of releasing “his video…before carrying out the attack.”
Aaron Driver had been under scrutiny by Canadian authorities for over 12 months. He was arrested in June 2015 after showing support for terror attacks in Canada and expressing a desire to fight for the Islamic State. He was under a court injunction not to associate with any radical organization, including ISIS.
In February, prosecutors and his defense team reached a consensus over a peace bond, placing a restriction on his movements and activities. The agreement was that there were “reasonable grounds to fear that he would participate, contribute directly or indirectly in the activity of a terrorist group.”
When he was released, Aaron Driver was instructed to wear a GPS monitoring device. He was also banned from using the Internet, a cellphone and wearing or carrying anything with IS affiliations. After outcries from human rights organizations, his bail conditions were lifted and his trial date suspended indefinitely. Canadian authorities have admitted that Driver was not under 24-hour surveillance.
In the Aaron Driver martyrdom video, showed during a news conference, the 24-year-old is seen telling IS soldiers everywhere to rally against the West and “enemies of Islam,” warning that “the spilling of blood” was inevitable. In the video, he pledged his loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State leader, and vowed to attack somewhere in Canada.
His father, Wayne Driver, said he did not fault the police for killing his son, adding that they would have given him every opportunity to surrender. Driver, a pastor, revealed that he lost his son 17 years back when his wife died. The pastor said his son was happy and a “mama’s boy,” but everything changed when his mother died when he was just seven.
Wayne Driver said his son got mad at the world and blamed him for killing his mother. Driver said things came to a head when he married again a year and a half later. Aaron became more conflicted, having run-ins with the police, skipping school and stealing from stores. In a bid to save his son from destruction and rummaging in Aaron’s bedroom, Wayne Driver said he discovered poems that his son had written about a morbid desire to kill his parents.
Driver said his son lived in a group home for two years and when he came out, he had changed. The pastor said it was then he noticed that his son had embraced Islam.
“I actually thought Islam was a good thing for him. Because he had stopped the drugs, he had stopped the drinking. He actually stopped smoking and swearing. But I didn’t realize he was so radicalized. I didn’t know he could speak Arabic so well. He was mad at the world because of his mother dying, but I didn’t realize that he was turning his hatred outward to the world.”
Investigations reveal Aaron Driver was in contact with a British teenager who had plotted an Australian attack.
[Photo by Jean-Nicolas Nault/ThinkStock]