Toronto Star

Sep. 26, 04:33 EDT

Cabbie's attackers on 'mission to kill': police

Two teenage girls held after Mississauga knife attack on driver

Bob Mitchell
Toronto Star

Steve Russell/Toronto Star
DANGEROUS JOB: Cabbie Mahd Hawari, 33, needed 15 stitches to close a wound to his lip and chin after being slashed and stabbed on Tuesday night in Mississauga. Two teenage girls are in custody.

Two female Toronto high-school students facing charges of attempted murder in an attack on a Mississauga taxi driver were on "a mission to kill," police say.

Mahd Hawari, 33, was slashed across the mouth in the frenzied knife attack Tuesday night inside his Blue & White cab, seconds after taking the two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, to a south Mississauga park.

"I have no idea why they did what they did," said Hawari, who needed 15 stitches to close an ugly wound on his lip and chin.

"If they wanted money, they never asked me. But everything happened so fast."

The teens, who attend R.H. King Academy on St. Clair Ave. E. in Scarborough, made a brief appearance in a Brampton courtroom yesterday but were remanded in custody. Their bail hearing was to be held today.

Although Hawari has no idea why the teens attacked him, Peel Region police say they're certain the vicious assault wasn't motivated by money.

"This wasn't a robbery. They were on a mission to kill someone," Constable Heather Andrews said yesterday. "They had an agenda and it wasn't to take any money out of the cab."

Hawari said he was "scared" but never thought he was going to be injured when the girls initially held the knife to his throat.

`It was a big mistake on my part. I should have kept the knife and they probably would have run away scared.'

Cab driver Mahd Hawari

"They were both sitting in the back of the taxi and when I turned the light on to get the fare, they said it was too bright," said Hawari, who was only on his second night of driving for the taxi company. "Then all of a sudden, one of them held the knife under my throat.

"I immediately grabbed it and then threw it out the window. I thought that would be the end of it and they would run out of the cab. But it was a big mistake on my part. I should have kept the knife and they probably would have run away scared."

Instead, one of the teens left the taxi and retrieved the knife while the other grabbed the surprised driver from behind by his throat and held him.

"The door was open and the girl with the knife then started stabbing me," said Hawari, an engineer who arrived in Canada with his family last November from Jordan. "I kept struggling. They also hit me with it in the shoulder but it didn't go through. They weren't very proficient.

"They never said anything even while they were attacking me."

Hawari managed to put the taxi into gear and sped away with one of his attackers still sitting in the rear seat.

"But she opened the door and jumped out," he said.

Hawari activated the taxi's emergency tracking system and then drove to a nearby Tim Hortons, where an ambulance was called. He was treated at Mississauga's Credit Valley Hospital and released.

Hawari said he didn't think there was anything unusual when he picked up the two teenage girls at the Clarkson GO station at about 11 p.m.

`He has only been driving for this cab company for two days. He won't be driving again.'

Sumayya Hawari
Cab driver's wife

"One of them looked like a boy," he said. "She had short hair.

"But they were just kids. I never thought anything about it."

Hawari said the teens told him to drive to a street in south Mississauga and then to Birchwood Park.

"I thought Birchwood Park was the name of a street but then we ended up at the park," Hawari said. "It was only about a five-minute drive and they never really said anything during the trip other than where to go."

Hawari's wife, Sumayya, said she hopes this is the end of her husband's days as a cabbie.

"He fought for his life," Sumayya, 30, said. "He has only been driving for this cab company for two days. He won't be driving again."

Police tracking dogs located the two teens in the park a short time after the attack.

"They were trying to slit their wrists when they were located," Andrews said.

Police allege the older teen initially held the knife under the driver's throat while the younger girl held him from behind.

The two teens, who cannot be identified under the Young Offenders Act, are charged with attempted murder, possession of weapons dangerous to the public peace and possession of a prohibited weapon.

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