Canadians 'vigilant, not scared' PM says after Ottawa attack
Prime minister lays wreath at war memorial to honor slain soldier.
Canada paid tribute Thursday to its two fallen soldiers killed this week in separate attacks by suspected home-grown terrorists.
In a rare show of solidarity, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the House of Commons that "we are all Canadian … we will always stand together” before crossing over to embrace opposition NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
"We are opponents, but we are never enemies,” Harper said, as reported by The Ottawa Citizen.
The prime minister also embraced Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who is being hailed as a hero for shooting and killing Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
Bibeau shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial Wednesday. He then stormed into the nearby Parliament buildings where 30 to 50 shots were fired before he was felled by Vickers.
Harper laid a wreath at the war memorial Thursday morning in tribute to Cirillo. The 24-year-old victim had a rifle but it was not loaded as the sentry is a ceremonial position. He belonged to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment and had a 6-year-old son.
The Ottawa attack followed Monday’s in which two soldiers were run down by a motorist in a parking lot in Quebec. One of the soldiers later died, while the perpetrator, Martin Couture-Rouleau, was shot and killed by police.
Harper referred to Zehaf-Bibeau as a terrorist, while Couture-Rouleau was characterized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as "radicalized.”
The Parliament buildings, with lawmakers huddling inside, was locked down as was the core downtown Ottawa area for about nine hours following the 10 a.m. shooting.
The blatant attacks have forced the government to enact precautionary measures.
The Toronto Sun reported that there are an estimated 90 potential terrorists known to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and both Rouleau and Zahaf-Bibeau were on the list. Last Friday, the domestic terrorism threat level was raised to medium from low for the first time in four years. Ottawa political columnist John Ivison tweeted that sources told him suspected terrorists were being rounded up Wednesday night.
Canadian Armed Forces members have been told not to wear their uniforms in public because they might become targets, and military bases in Canada are operating under higher security. ISIL called for attacks to be carried out in Canada.
"In the days to come, we will learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had, but this week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” Harper said in an address to the nation Wednesday evening.
Here’s what is known about Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, drawn from media reports.
He is 32 years old, born in Canada in 1982 and is said to have moved around and lived in the Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver areas.
He has a criminal record, with multiple media reports of robbery, uttering threats and drug charges. The Ottawa Citizen reported he served 60 days in prison for possession of pcp.
He wanted to travel to Libya to study Islam but could not get travel documents from the federal government. CTV News reported that his passport had recently been seized.
Maclean’s magazine reported that he worked for a landscaping company in British Columbia for a short period, hired by the owner’s son after the pair met in a mosque.
His father is a Quebec businessman who may have fought in 2011 in Libya and his mother is an employee of the federal government in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
Last Modified: 2014-10-24 09:57:50
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