The van overturned during a police chase. PIX: REUTERS via BBC

CANADA – Canadian police have arrested a man suspected of stabbing a police officer and injuring four pedestrians in Edmonton, Alberta, on Saturday.

The officer was controlling traffic at a Canadian Football League game when he was struck by a car at high speed and then attacked with a knife.

A second vehicle, believed to be driven by the same man, then hit four others and the driver was later apprehended.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called it a “terrorist attack”.

Edmonton Police Service Chief Rod Knecht said the suspect, a 30-year-old male, is likely to have acted alone but they have not ruled out the possibility that others were involved.

According to broadcasters CBC and CTV, a flag belonging to so-called Islamic State was found inside the vehicle that hit the police officer.

The officer and his vehicle were rammed by a white Chevrolet Malibu at about 20:15 local time outside Alberta’s Commonwealth Stadium.

The driver then got out of his vehicle and stabbed the uniformed officer several times, before fleeing on foot. The officer was taken to hospital but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Shortly before midnight, a man driving a rented van was pulled over at a checkpoint after his name on documents was said to be “very similar” to the name of the man police were searching for.

“The U-Haul truck then immediately fled the scene, and was pursued by police officers toward downtown Edmonton,” Chief Knecht said.

He said the truck “deliberately attempted to hit pedestrians” during the police chase. The condition of the four people who were hit is not yet known.

The driver was arrested after his vehicle overturned in a police chase.

One witness told the Edmonton Journal how she saw “people flying” as the van hit pedestrians during the chase.

Police said the arrested individual had been known to authorities.

Mr Trudeau said he was both “deeply concerned and outraged” by “this senseless act of violence”.

“While the investigation continues, early reports indicate that this is another example of the hate that we must remain ever vigilant against.”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson urged calm, saying authorities believed there was no further threat and that it was a so-called “lone wolf” attack.

“Terrorism is about creating panic and sowing divide about disrupting people’s lives,” he said. “We can succumb to that or rise above it.”

An event to stand against violence is being organised by the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council on Sunday evening in Edmonton “to condemn violence and acts of terrorism”. -BBC

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