image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionCanada has been left reeling after the deaths of four members of a Muslim family

Canada's attorney general has approved terror charges against a man accused of killing four members of a Muslim family with his vehicle in London, Ontario.

London police have said that Nathaniel Veltman, 20, intentionally targeted the family because of their faith, running them over in a "premeditated" attack.

Mr Veltman also faces four first-degree murder charges and one attempted murder charge.

Three generations of the Afzaal family were killed, leaving just one survivor.

Salman Afzaal, 46, Madiha Salman, 44, Yumna Afzaal, 15, and Mr Afzaal's mother, 74, were killed while on an evening walk on 6 June. The family's nine-year-old son was the only survivor, and remains in hospital with serious injuries.

Mr Veltman has not yet entered a plea. He made a brief appearance through a video call in court on Monday, wearing an oversized orange t-shirt and orange pants, with a blue face covering, local media report.

He told the judge he had not yet retained a lawyer.

The next court hearing has been scheduled for 21 June.

Commenting on the additional terrorism charge on Monday, Canada's deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland said it was "important" to name the attack "as an act of terror".

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Police have not yet said what evidence led to the belief that the murders were motivated by hate.

London police said in a statement that they worked with the attorney general and federal prosecutors to determine Mr Veltman's charges. Authorities said that the investigation is still ongoing but there is no further threat to the public.

With murder-terrorism charges, prosecutors must prove there was the intent to cause death or serious harm, evidence that the act was committed for a political, religious or ideological purpose, and evidence that the act was meant to intimidate the public or a specific group.

It is the third time terrorist activity charges have been laid in the past year after attacks in Ontario, Canada's most populous province.

The attack has sent waves of grief and fear across the country, as London's tight-knit Muslim community mourns the loss of a beloved family.

A public funeral for the Afzaal family on Sunday drew hundreds of mourners to London, a small city two hours west of Toronto.

All of Canada's major party leaders have also joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in decrying the violence as an act of terror, in a show of rare political unity.

media captionLondon, Ontario police: "We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith"