Islamic State claims responsibility for Toronto shooting as 10-year-old victim named

Islamic state on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a shooting in Toronto on Sunday that killed two people and wounded 13, the group’s propaganda arm said on Wednesday.

The attacker "was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the attack in response to calls to target the citizens of the coalition countries," a statement from AMAQ news agency said.

The group did not provide further detail or evidence for its claim. Canadian police have said the motive for the shooting remained unclear.

The assailant, Faisal Hussain, died after an exchange of gunfire with police. His family has said he suffered from lifelong "severe mental health challenges". 

A statement issued by his family said their son had not responded to numerous treatment approaches, including therapy and medication, for long-term psychosis and depression

It was not immediately clear whether he took his own life or was killed by police during the attack Sunday night.

Canadian authorities said on Wednesday that they have no evidence to substantiate the Islamic State group’s claim.

Toronto police on Tuesday night named the 10-year-old girl killed during the shooting as Julianna Kozis from Markham, Ontario.

Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti said in a statement: "This heartbreaking story speaks to the unbreakable bond between a father and his daughter and I salute the Toronto paramedics, doctors and nurses who reportedly brought them together, showing incredible compassion and kindness in her final moments.

"This senseless act of violence has shaken us and hurt us. We stand with the victims, the brave first responders and all the communities impacted by this tragedy."

Ms Kozis was killed along with 18-year-old student Reese Fallon during the shooting. Officials have not released the names of any of the 13 wounded, who were aged from 17 to 59.

Anthony Parise, who taught Ms Fallon English class, remembered her as "a leader among her peers" who planned to become a nurse.

Investigators searched the apartment that Hussain shared with his parents and siblings on Thorncliffe Park Drive in the eastern part of the city, and removed boxes of potential evidence overnight.

Where Hussain got his handgun remains unknown.

The Toronto City Council voted Tuesday overwhelmingly to urge Canada’s federal and provincial government to ban the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition in the largest city in the country. 

Police Chief Mark Saunders said he would not speculate on the motive for Sunday’s attack. "We do not know why this has happened yet," he said. "It’s going to take some time."

According to videos and witness accounts, the assailant, clad all in black, was seen walking quickly down a sidewalk on Danforth Avenue, firing a handgun into shops and restaurants in Greektown, a district of expensive homes, eateries and cafes.

Ontario’s police watchdog agency said there was an exchange of shots between the attacker and two officers on a side street before the gunman was found dead.

Toronto has long prided itself as being one of the safest big cities in the world.

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