Within minutes of hearing allegations that the words “Allahu Akbar” were uttered during an armed attack at a Scarborough Canadian Tire, Canada’s counter-terrorism law enforcement unit was called in, the Toronto Sun has learned.
“The protocols kicked in and were put in place immediately,” said a Toronto Police source. “It’s what should have happened and what is expected to happen.”
As with every suspected act of terror or terrorism case, Canada’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) was notified.
INSET has joined the Toronto Police in investigating a case in which Rehab Dughmosh, 32, a mother of two, allegedly swung a golf club at employees at the store located in the Cedarbrae Mall on Saturday — at the same time as the deadly terror attacks in London.
The woman was allegedly wearing an ISIS bandana and ranted “Allahu Akbar” — God (Allah) is greater — before swinging the golf club at employees, according to sources. A Toronto Police release says at one point before store employees subdued her, she pulled out a knife from under her clothing. One employee suffered injuries.
The potential terror part of the investigation will be handled by INSET, which is made up of officers from a number of law enforcement agencies including the OPP, RCMP and Peel Regional Police.
No chances will be taken when it comes to investigating the background and movements of Dughmosh.
“When somebody is wearing ISIS markings and yelling Allahu Akbar while swinging a golf club ... you have to do everything necessary and treat it as a terror attack,” said a police source.
And INSET was already doing that when it got even more interesting during her first court appearance Tuesday. Wearing a niqab and speaking through an interpreter in Arabic, Dughmosh told court she supported ISIS, declaring “I pledge to the leader of the believers: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
It sent shock waves through those who investigate jihad and terrorism cases because it was not something said in the heat of the moment.
“As a precaution, no stone will be left unturned in her life,” said one officer. “We will look into all aspects of her ... and her family, her computer and phone, the state of her mental health, where she worships and her past travel.”
Police are also very interested in creating a timeline from the 5:10 p.m. attack Saturday to the hours and days that led up to it.
Just before the alleged attack on staff at in the paint section of the Canadian Tire, Dughmosh stopped by a neighbour’s apartment to drop something off.
“Five Qur’ans with a sealed letter inside one,” Noshaba Raheel told Toronto Sun reporter Kevin Connor.
The suspect asked her to “hold on to them for her” and that she “would be back soon.”
Police have seized the copies of the Qur’an and the letter as evidence. Raheel told Connor the woman had lived next to her on Confederation Dr. since January.
“This is a horrible tragedy. I’m shivering and I can’t explain what I’m going through,” said Raheel, adding Dughmosh’s husband left with the couple’s two small children and packed bags on Sunday.
Police sources say they made arrangements to speak with the husband.
Daghmosh was remanded in custody after a brief court appearance Tuesday. None of the allegations against her have been proven in court.
She makes her next court appearance, via video, on June 21.
She faces charges including assault with a weapon, uttering threats and possession of a weapon.
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