OTTAWA — The federal government says the national-threat level remains unchanged despite concerns of retaliatory strikes by the Islamic State group after the killing of its leader.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Sunday that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — the shadowy leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL — died during a U.S. special forces operation in Syria.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hailed al-Baghdadi’s death as a major step in the fight against the Islamic State group, saying Canada will continue to work with its partners to ensure ISIL’s lasting defeat.

Despite concerns in some countries of retaliatory attacks by sympathizers, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office says the national-threat level has not been changed from medium — meaning a violent act of terrorism could occur.

The national-threat level was raised to medium in October 2014 when an ISIL sympathizer killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., in retaliation for Canada sending troops and fighter jets to fight the extremist group in Iraq.

One day after the threat level change, another ISIL sympathizer shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in front of the National War Memorial before storming Parliament Hill where he was gunned down by security forces.

Canada has 850 military personnel in Iraq and the surrounding region, including special forces, military trainers, medical personnel and crews for transport helicopters and aircraft.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2019.



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