Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had strong words for the attacker who opened fire at the National War Monument before moving on to the halls of Parliament in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Harper’s comments come in the wake of the fatal shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, who was a reservist in the Canadian Forces, by Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
“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 his address to the nation. “We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all. But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.”
The attack began just before 10 am on Wednesday, when Zehaf-Bibeau fired on the ceremonial guard at a war memorial across the street from parliament. It was here that Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot; he later died from his wounds.
Zehaf-Bibeau then made his way past armed guards and into the building where MPs from both parties were caucusing. Kevin Vickers, the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, shot Zehaf-Bibeau dead before anyone else was injured.
According to the Guardian, officials have not yet released information regarding the shooter’s motive. His attack, however, comes just after Canada’s decision to join forces with the United States to defeat ISIS in the Middle East:
Harper acknowledged there were unanswered questions about the attacks but offered assurances to his shocked nation that Canada’s security agencies would take all necessary steps to “identify and counter threats”, both homegrown and abroad. The Toronto Star reported earlier this week that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has limited resources with which to track the roughly 80 Canadians who have travelled abroad to join terrorist groups and then returned home.
Earlier this month members of parliament voted to join the US-led bombing campaign against the al-Qaida splinter group Islamic State.
On Tuesday Canada elevated its domestic terror threat from low to medium. “The decision to raise the level is linked to an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations like Isil, al-Qaida, al-Shabaab and others who pose a clear threat to Canadians,” said a statement from the ministry of public safety and emergency preparedness.
Wednesday’s terror attack emerged in the wake of another attack by a radical jihadist who ran down two soldiers outside a strip mall near Montreal.DONATE
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