If we are to believe witnesses’ accounts, it was a terror attack.
According to these accounts, it was inspired by ISIS. It occurred in a Scarborough Canadian Tire store at the same time the murderous mowing down of innocent people on London Bridge and the stabbings in Borough Market were happening.
And, yes, it was kept from us until three days after it happened.
Now that it is no longer a secret, we should call it what it appears to be: An ISIS-inspired terrorism event on Canadian soil and right in our city.
It should be taken seriously.
By wearing what witnesses describe as an ISIS bandana during the attack, and by later in court pledging allegiance to the terror group, the suspect made no attempts to conceal her support for ISIS.
But still police want to be sure this is what it looks like.
They have seen it before.
Such allegiances to terror sects is not new in Canada. We had the murderous Islamist terror attacks in Quebec and Ottawa that took the lives of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.
Then there was the stopped-at-the-last-minute planned effort by Aaron Driver in Strathroy in which his bomb partially detonated in a taxi just before he was shot to death by the RCMP.
There was also a similar modus operandi displayed in March 2016 at a Canadian Armed Forces recruiting office in Toronto where a knife-wielding man yelling Allahu Akbar was wrestled to the ground by soldiers, two of whom were cut.
The Toronto 18 plot and the VIA Rail derailing plan were also thwarted.
This one on Saturday wasn’t stopped by police intelligence, but by customers and staff were able to subdue a suspect who they say was swinging a golf club and waving a knife while citing Allah as the motivator.
Toronto Police did the right thing in turning over the case to the RCMP and INSET (Integrated National Security Enforcement Team).
What was wrong was the fact that Torontonians were not told of the gravity of this incident.
In fact, with a publication ban placed on the initial court hearing for Rehab Dughmosh, it is conceivable the public may never have been told about it.
Here’s what the Toronto Police news release on Tuesday said: “On Saturday, June 3, 2017, at 5:10 p.m., the Toronto Police Service responded to a radio call at a store in the Lawrence Avenue East and Markham Road area.
It is alleged that:
— a woman walked to the paint section of the store with a golf club
— the woman then began to swing the golf club at the store employees and a customer
— the woman began to utter threats
— the store employees and customers were able to restrain the woman and contacted police
It is further alleged that:
— the woman pulled out a large knife from under her clothing
— she was restrained and, with the assistance of another store employee, the knife was pried out of her hand
The store employee sustained non life-threatening injuries.
Rehab Dughmosh, 32, of Toronto, was arrested. She was charged with:
1) Two counts of assault with a weapon
3) Utter threat to cause death
4) Two counts of possession of a weapon for committing an offence
5) Carry concealed weapon
She was scheduled to appear in court at College Park on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 10 a.m., room 507.”
Some pretty key details are left out of that release. No ISIS. No Allahu Akbar. No mention she is alleged to have left a note inside one of five Qur’ans she dropped off at a neighbour’s just before the attack.
If not for witnesses talking, what would we be allowed to know?
“I think the police did the right thing by holding off releasing details because the more the terrorists knew about what the police are doing, the worse it is,” Councillor Jon Burnside said.
But Councillor Jim Karygiannis disagrees.
“This is news happening in my city I want to know right away,” he said. “You can’t afford to keep stuff like this a secret. This is stuff people need to know.
“We have to make sure the public is aware of this,” Karygiannis added. “I don’t think we are very safe. There is a Greek saying: If there is a dancing bear in a neighbour’s yard, he will soon be in your yard.”
Toronto Police sources insist this is not a cover-up but was more an investigative decision to allow detectives to get a jump on the case before it became a major news story.
But what else are they not telling us?