Two dead in suspected terror attack on U.S.-Canada border

Two people have been confirmed dead following a car explosion in the Niagara Region that prompted four border crossings in the area to close.

Two dead in suspected terror attack on U.S.-Canada border
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Two people have been confirmed dead following a car explosion Wednesday afternoon in the Niagara Region, prompting four border crossings in the area to close.

According to an unnamed Fox News source within law enforcement, the detonation was believed to be a terror attack on the U.S. side of the Rainbow Bridge, resulting in the deaths of the vehicle's two occupants. At the time, an FBI Terrorism Task Force investigated the explosion, but had yet to confirm the motive. 

However, at 3:38 p.m. EST, they walked back their reporting on the vehicle crash at the US-Canada border. "We told you earlier there was an explosion because there were explosives in the car and now authorities are walking that back," said the publication.

Moments before detonation, the car in question sped down Niagara Street into inspection booths at the crossing. According to footage from the scene, the border entry point suffered extensive damage.

At least one other person, a 27-year-old male, has been taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

According to an unnamed law enforcement official briefed on the incident, investigators believed the explosion resulted from the impact of the collision. They uncovered a suitcase near the car but did not contain explosives, the official added.

The car went airborne and struck a cement pillar, according to the official.

"The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it hit the structure, caught fire and exploded," reported NBC. The initial search did not find a secondary explosive or device, according to law enforcement officials.

Nevertheless, Toronto police are increasing patrols of uniformed officers throughout the city, out of an "abundance of caution." Peel Region police have deployed additional officers to Pearson International Airport.

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc called the incident "violent" and said officials are taking it "very seriously."

"But to speculate on the origin of this particular circumstance, the reasons why this may have happened, is simply not responsible," he added.

However, the suspicious activity comes on the heels of a recent United Kingdom warning less than two weeks ago predicting a potential terror attack in Canada — a threat that Ottawa seems to dismiss. 

Canada's National Terrorism Threat level currently sits at a "medium," suggesting a "violent act of terrorism could occur." It has remained that level since October 2014.

As of writing, there are no known threats for the Greater Toronto Area.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told all House parties Wednesday afternoon that four border crossings are closed and that his government has bolstered security at all other border crossings.

"This is obviously a serious situation in Niagara Falls," he said, confirming the explosion had taken place. "I've been briefed by the NSIA and the Minister of Public Safety [...] there are a lot of questions, and we're following up to try and get as many answers as rapidly as possible."

Three other bridges between western New York and Ontario quickly closed as a precautionary measure, while the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport began security checks on all vehicles entering and leaving the country.

"We're in close contact with U.S. officials, and will continue to work closely with them," added the prime minister.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has also been briefed on the incident and is "closely monitoring the situation," according to a statement posted to social media. "At my direction, the New York State Police is actively working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor all points of entry to New York," she added.

The governor is traveling to Buffalo to help coordinate the state response. "State agencies are on site and ready to assist," she said.

Federal officials announced extra security measures by land and air travel in the area. Traffic entering bridge crossings in the western New York area remains under heavy surveillance.

Buffalo Niagara International airport in New York is closed to all departing and arriving international flights for the time being.

This is a developing story.
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