Police swoop on trio over Canada mall 'threat'

Police officers patrol in Ottawa, Canada, on October 22, 2014 (AFP Photo/Mike Carroccetto)

Ottawa (AFP) - Police arrested two men and a woman in a raid Tuesday over a "potential threat" to a mall near Canada's port city of Halifax, home to the navy's Atlantic fleet.

It comes after security officials last month warned shoppers in Canada, the United States and Britain to be on guard after an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group posted a video calling for attacks on Western malls.

Halifax Police Constable Pierre Bourdages said a "heavy police presence" was dispatched to the Mic Mac Mall in the Halifax suburb of Dartmouth and the mall was closed for the day, although investigators said the threat had not been confirmed.

Officers raided a small bungalow in connection with the threat, but a suspect was absent and "no dangerous substances" or firearms were found, Bourdages told AFP.

A short time later, an apartment in another part of Halifax was raided and three people -- two men and a woman -- were taken into custody.

Police said they "have been actively investigating the matter to determine the validity of the threat and to this point no threat has been confirmed."

The Shebab militant group last month specifically threatened the Mall of America in the US state of Minnesota, Canada's massive West Edmonton Mall, London's famous Oxford Street and two malls in France.

Also last month, an American woman and a Canadian man were arrested and charged with plotting a Valentine's Day massacre at another mall in Halifax.

A third suspect was found dead at his parents' home.