Since 9/11 American law enforcement authorities have been on constant lookouts for possible terrorist activity. After 9/11 America has seen several attempts at would-be terrorist attempting to use deadly force. There was the Boston Marathon bombings back in April of 2013 and recently in two separate attacks two men jumped the White House fence, with one making it inside the building before being seized by Secret Service officers. However, recently in New York and in neighboring country Canada, Muslim terrorists have carried out what authorities are calling terrorist related activity.
In late October a hatchet-wielding man attacked a group of four New York Police Department patrol officers in a commercial district in Queens. According to the report of the incident, Zale Thompson, 32, charged at the officers and began swinging the hatchet, hitting one officer in the arm and another in the back of the head. Thompson critically injured two of the officers, before being shot and killed by other officers in the group. A 29-year-old female bystander was struck by one of the policeman’s bullets, but she is recovering in a nearby hospital.
NYCPD officials have said the incident is an act of terrorism and they are still investigating if Islamic terrorists calling for attacks in the U.S motivated Thompson. Thompson is a former U.S. Navy serviceman, but was discharged for unknown misconduct.
Thompson’s Facebook page features a photograph of a man dressed in Middle Eastern garb and a cover photo displaying Arabic writing. And U.S. authorities say ISIS, an Islamic terrorist group, has urged fighters to launch lone wolf attacks in the United States.
In the neighboring country of Canada, two attacks recently have had Canadian authorities on alert. In Quebec a man ran down two soldiers in his car before being gunned down by police and at the Canadian Parliament a lone attacker ambushed a soldier outside parliament killing him before running through the building and opening fire.
Canadian authorities identified Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, as the parliament attacker and describe him as a homegrown radical who attacked parliament due to ideological and political motivation. Zehaf-Bibeau killed one Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer before being shot in an exchange of gunfire.
He was designated a high-risk traveler and had been barred from leaving Canada. He had traveled to Ottawa from Vancouver in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain a passport, police said, which is one of the suspected theories behind his attack. The Canadian government passed a law last year that makes it a crime to leave, or attempt to leave, the country to engage in terrorist activity.
Canadian police uncovered a video Zehaf-Bibeau shot of himself before the attack that provided clues into his terrorist activity, in which Canadian authorities called the video “quite lucid and was quite purposeful in articulating the basis for his actions.”
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said, “While we are facing this threat at home, we must focus our efforts on preventing individuals traveling abroad to commit acts of terrorism,” Paulson said. “Preventing the individuals from traveling is critical. If these individuals return with training and/or battle experience, they pose an even greater threat to Canada and our allies.” Paulson said his team is tracking 93 people they consider high-risk travelers, who they fear could try to leave the country to join militant groups or mount attacks in Canada.
The shooting in the Canadian capital, coupled with similar attacks last week in Quebec and in the New York borough of Queens, has raised fears over the threat of so-called lone-wolf terrorist attacks, carried out by extremists either returning home after fighting in conflict zones or influenced by Islamic ideology.
Recently it was announced that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would visit Ottawa Tuesday to offer “steadfast U.S. support” for Canada following last week’s terror-related incidents and to discuss security and other issues.