'FBI has charged Amor Ftouhi, a 49-year-old "Canadian", after a police officer
was stabbed in the neck at Bishop International Airport in Flint
A flare is set to block a lane into Bishop International
Airport Wednesday in Flint, Michigan. The attacked officer is now in stable
condition. Photograph: Shannon Millard/AP
Oliver Laughland in New York and Ashifa Kassam in Toronto
Wednesday 21 June 2017 19.46 EDTFirst published on Wednesday 21 June 2017 13.26 EDT
|Amor Ftouhi, 49, originally from Tunisia, allegedly stabbed a police officer multiple times Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan|
A police officer in Flint, Michigan, was stabbed in the neck at the city’s airport on Wednesday morning, in an attack US officials are describing as an “act of terrorism”.Amor Ftouhi, 49, originally from Tunisia, allegedly stabbed a police officer multiple times Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan
FBI has charged Amor Ftouhi, a 49-year-old "Canadian" from Quebec, with causing violence at an international airport, special agent David Gelios told reporters on Wednesday evening.
The officer, Jeff Neville, was rushed to hospital and is now in stable condition.
The FBI said Ftouhi entered the US legally through a New York border crossing on 16 June. Days later he made his way to the Bishop International Airport. “He spent a little time in the restroom. Dropped both bags and came out, pulled out a knife, yelled ‘Allahu akbar’, and stabbed Lt Neville in the neck,” Gelios said. “He made a statement something to the effect of, ‘You have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and we are all going to die.’”
The suspect, who had attacked the officer with a 12-inch serrated knife, was taken into custody shortly afterwards. There was little to suggest that the attack was part of a wider plot, said Gelios. “At this time, we view him as a lone wolf attacker.”
US attorney general Jeff Sessions said he had spoken to the FBI about the attack, which is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He was “proud of the swift response” by authorities of both nations, he said in a statement. “I want to assure all our law enforcement across the nation, any attack on someone who serves and protects our citizens will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Canada’s public safety minister Ralph Goodale issued a statement calling the incident a “heinous and cowardly act”. Canadian law enforcement agencies are in touch with their US counterparts and assisting them in every way possible, Goodale said.
Cherie Carpenter, a witness to the stabbing, told local news the male assailant appeared “blank, just totally blank” after he was arrested by local police.
Ftouhi reportedly lives in Montreal where he works for a large insurance company. On Wednesday afternoon, local media reported a large police presence outside an apartment believed to be connected to Ftouhi.
City officials in Flint said that local police officers had been stationed around city hall following the incident.
“Right now we are still awaiting more information about the situation at Bishop Airport this morning,” said Flint mayor Karen Weaver. “My thoughts and prayers are with all of our law enforcement officers who work to service and protect us each and every day. I want the public to know that several agencies are involved and working to ensure the situation is under control. However, at this time we are taking extra precautions just to be safe.”