TORONTO — A Canadian man previously banned from associating with ISIS extremists died as police thwarted what they believed was a suicide bomb plot, authorities said.
The suspect allegedly planned to target a public area, a senior Canadian police official said late Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak ahead of a news conference scheduled for Thurday, identified the suspect as Aaron Driver. Reuters also quoted intelligence sources as confirming the suspect's name, adding that he used the alias Harun Abdurahman.
Driver was under a court order from earlier this year to not associate with any terrorist organization, including ISIS. In February, Driver's lawyer and the prosecutor agreed to a peace bond stating there are "reasonable grounds to fear that he may participate, contribute directly or indirectly in the activity of a terrorist group."
Amarnath Amarasingam, a post-doctoral fellow at Dalhousie University who studies radicalization and terrorism, maintained in 2015 that Driver had posted for several months on social media about disliking Canada and about a desire to move overseas.
The police operation involving Driver took place Wednesday night in the southern Ontario town of Strathroy, 140 miles southwest of Toronto.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it halted a possible attack after receiving credible information of a potential terrorist threat. Details of how Driver died were not immediately released.
They said a suspect was identified and the "proper course of action has been taken" to ensure no danger to public safety.
Citing family members, the London Free Press newspaper reported that Driver was shot by police after he detonated a device, wounding himself and another person. NBC News was not immediately able to confirm that report.
Irene Lee, whose parents own a convenience store near Driver's home, said police arrived on the quiet residential street shortly after 4 p.m. ET and quickly surrounded the house.
"I hear a bomb sound, like a 'bang' — I was freaking out because this is a small and quiet town," she told Reuters. "All of a sudden the policemen were yelling, 'Everyone get into your houses.'"
Winnipeg-based lawyer Leonard Tailleur, who handled Driver's peace bond, said he was "shocked" to hear what had happened.
"Saddened to hear that it had to end this way for him," Tailleur said in an email to The Canadian Press.