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Michigan Airport Stabbing Is Investigated As A Possible Terrorism Act

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The stabbing of an airport security officer yesterday in Flint, Mich., is being investigated as an act of terror. As Quinn Klinefelter from member station WDET reports, the FBI is checking on the back story of the Canadian man alleged to have carried out this attack.

QUINN KLINEFELTER, BYLINE: It was just before 10 o'clock Eastern time yesterday when investigators say Quebec native Amor Ftouhi came out of a public bathroom at Flint's Bishop International Airport. He was armed with a 12-inch knife. FBI Special Agent in Charge David Gelios says Ftouhi lunged at airport police officer Jeff Neville, stabbing him in the neck, while shouting God is great, in Arabic.

DAVID GELIOS: He continued to exclaim, Allah. And 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.

KLINEFELTER: A bleeding Neville fought back until Ftouhi was handcuffed and taken into custody. Officer Neville underwent surgery and is listed in satisfactory condition. Now investigators are trying to piece together a motivation for what the FBI is calling an act of terror. Officials say Ftouhi appears to have been working alone. He had arrived in the state of New York only a few days ago before heading to Flint.

Canadian police raided an apartment in Montreal, where Ftouhi is thought to have lived. And video footage showed at least one person being taken from the building. Ftouhi himself appeared in federal court hours after the attack, charged with committing violence at an airport. He faces a bond hearing next week. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder tweeted that despite the attack, officials need to, quote, "balance increased security with understanding and tolerance." In a statement, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed that Ftouhi will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

For NPR News, I'm Quinn Klinefelter in Detroit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.