Canada gunman’s video lists motives

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Published: Friday 6th March 2015 by The News Editor

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In a video recorded before his death, the gunman who killed a Canadian soldier and then stormed Parliament said he did it because of Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian, said in a mobile phone video that he made in his car just before last October’s attack that he believed Canada had no right to involve its military in Afghanistan and that Canadian soldiers are “not even safe in your own land”.

The attack began at Canada’s war memorial, where Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed Cpl Nathan Cirillo, who was assigned to the honour guard there. Zehaf-Bibeau was later shot to death by the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons just steps from where Canada’s prime minister and members of Parliament were meeting.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called it a terror attack, and the bloodshed raised fears that Canada was suffering reprisals for joining the US-led air campaign against Islamic State extremists in Iraq.

“This is in retaliation for Afghanistan and because Harper wants to send his troops to Iraq,” Zehaf-Bibeau said in the short video, which police released.

“So we are retaliating, the Mujahedin of this world. Canada’s officially become one of our enemies by fighting and bombing us and creating a lot of terror in our countries and killing us and killing our innocents. So, just aiming to hit some soldiers just to show that you’re not even safe in your own land, and you gotta be careful.”

Zehaf-Bibeau finishes with a “thank you”.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson said he believes Zehaf-Bibeau was influenced by others and that the investigation is ongoing. “I wouldn’t characterise it as network as it is commonly understood but I am persuaded that he was influenced by other individuals toward these crimes so in that sense I am of the view that others were involved,” he said.

Mr Paulson also released other details from the investigation:

:: Zehaf-Bibeau used the internet and payphones to stay in contact with people in Ottawa and in British Columbia. Police have identified some of these individuals.

:: The autopsy toxicology report showed Zehaf-Bibeau, who struggled with crack addiction, was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the attack. The evidence also “does not speak to any mental health issues”.

:: The gunman, who also held Libyan citizenship, became increasingly aligned with terrorist ideology in recent years while living in British Columbia and Alberta.

:: Zehaf-Bibeau had a long knife tied to his wrist when he was killed in Parliament. He had toured the main Parliament building while posing as a tourist a couple of weeks before the attack.

The RCMP commissioner said they found the phone in the car he used in the attack. Police released all but 18 seconds of the short video. Releasing the entire video would have hurt the investigation, he said.

The attack in Ottawa came two days after a man described as an “Isil-inspired terrorist” ran over two soldiers in a parking lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring the other before being shot dead by police.

The man had been under surveillance by Canadian authorities, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.

Unlike the attacker in the Quebec case, Zehaf-Bibeau was not being watched by authorities.

Published: Friday 6th March 2015 by The News Editor

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