Ottawa Shooting Suspect Identified as Canadian Islamic Convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

World | October 23, 2014, Thursday // 13:17|  views

A candle lit on a street one block away from the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada, where Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo was shot dead while on guard duty at the Memorial, 22 October 2014. Photo EPA/BGNES

Canadian police have identified the suspected gunman who killed a soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before being shot dead by a security guard on Wednesday.

The suspect was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, a Canadian national who had recently converted to Islam, Reuters quoted US government sources as saying.

According to Canadian media reports, he dreamed of travelling to the Middle East to study Arabic.

The suspected gunman, who was killed in a shoot-out inside the parliament building opposite Parliament Hill by a security guard, was reportedly known to Canadian authorities  as “a high-risk traveller”, meaning it was feared he would travel to foreign countries to commit crimes, according to sources quoted by CTV News.

Those sources also said the federal government had seized Zehaf-Bibeau’s passport to prevent him from travelling abroad.

Police initially believed two or three attackers were responsible for the shooting that claimed the life of Nathan Cirillo, a 24-old soldier on guard at the National War Memorial killed by the attacker.

The Ottawa shooting came two days after an Islamic convert ran down two Canadian soldiers with his car near Montreal, killing one of them. The two attacks on Canadian soldiers have raised concerns Canada is becoming a target of terrorist retaliation for its participation in US-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

No group has claimed responsibility for any of the two attacks.

On Tuesday, Canada said it is sending six CF-18 warplanes to join the air strikes against the Jihadist group in Iraq.

Canada’s Prime Minister Steven Harper, who was evacuated from Parliament as shooting began inside the building, said the attacker was a ‘terrorist’.

“For the second time this week, there has been a brutal and violent act on our soil,” Harper said in a televised address to the nation last night.

The acts of violence, he said, have shown that “Canada is not immune” to the types of terrorist attacks taking place elsewhere around the world.

“But let there be no misunderstanding, we will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” the Canadian premier said.

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Tags: canada, Steven Harper, Islamic state, parliament, Zehaf-Bibeau, terrorist, convert, US, Iraq, air strikes


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