While a Canadian man who attacked a pair of soldiers with a knife says he was commanded to do so by Allah, investigators say there's no clear link between the suspect and any terrorist groups.
Ayanle Hassan Ali, 27, walked into a building that houses several Canadian government organizations -- including a military recruiting center -- on March 14 and stabbed two service members, according to reports from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Ali passed a master corporal who was stationed at the door, the CBC said, and stabbed him when he tried to stop Ali from going further. A second soldier tried to intervene and Ali stabbed him, too. Ali tried to stab a female service member but was unsuccessful, and the soldiers managed to subdue him.
The two victims, later identified by the Daily Mail as Ryan Kong and Jesus Castillo, were both hospitalized but were not critically injured, authorities said. They were both released after treatment.
Ali kept his head down during a court appearance on March 15, the CBC reported. He remained mostly silent during the hearing, but Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said Ali spoke to law enforcement after his arrest.
"Allah told me to do this, Allah told me to come here and kill people," Ali told police, according to Saunders.
Police were taking a cautious approach to the investigation, and stopped short of saying the stabbing was a terrorist attack. So far, Saunders said, it's not clear whether Ali had been radicalized locally or had ties to extremist elements within Toronto, but police said their investigation had not turned up any links to organizations like the Islamic State, which has been known to recruit and radicalize sympathizers via social media.
"The initial investigation would appear to indicate that this was a singular, lone wolf type of behavior but the investigation is not complete," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said, per the Daily Mail.
Ali was arraigned and charged with three counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, three counts of assault with a weapon, and another charge for carrying a weapon in public, according to the CBC.
David Burke, Ali's lawyer, said his client was frightened by the potential consequences of his alleged attempts at murdering service personnel.
"It's a very, very difficult situation he finds himself in," Burke said. "He seems very scared."
Muslims in Canada denounced the attack.
"It is appalling and utterly disgraceful that anyone would carry out such an attack in God's name," said Lal Khan Malik, the national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada, a Muslim community organization.