Canada is reeling from two terror attacks within three days carried out by Radical Islamists. Prime Minister Harper declared: “Canada will never be intimidated.”
On Wednesday, a terrorist fatally shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before entering the Canadian Parliament building, where approximately 50 shots were fired, witnesses say. It was the second terror attack within three days
The attacker – Michael Zehaf-Bibeau – was shot dead by Kevin Vickers, House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms.
The victim was identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24.
Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, reportedly had a long history of drug abuse before converting to Islam. His passport had been confiscated when it was discovered that he had planned to join Islamists overseas. A Canadian, he has a long criminal record in both Quebec and British Columbia, including charges of credit-card fraud, theft, possession of a dangerous weapon and drunk driving.
Two days earlier, Canadians were shocked at the news of a terror attack near Montreal committed by Martin Rouleau, 25, who had converted to Islam and, according to the Toronto Star, had begun “distancing himself from his large circle of friends.”
Rouleau killed Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, and injured a second soldier on Monday in a deliberate hit-and-run car crash.
Homegrown Terror on the Rise
“For those friends who had tried to reason with him over the last year and a half, the last straw came this summer when, they say, Rouleau was stopped by border authorities trying to leave Canada to fight abroad with the Islamic State,” the Star reports.
The terror attacks occurred in the wake of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s statement earlier this month that his government would be introducing stricter anti-terror legislation, especially considering information regarding an increase in radicalization among Canadians.
The murder of Vincent, according to CNN, underscores the challenges faced by police and intelligence agencies in dealing with radicalized citizens.
“Superintendent Martine Fontaine of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at a televised news conference that a special anti-terrorism force had begun monitoring Mr. Rouleau in June and arrested him a month later, when he was about to fly to Turkey. He was released for lack of evidence that he intended to join a terrorist group,” CNN reports.
Israel Expresses Condolences, Offers Support in War on Terror
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening conveyed the condolences of the Israeli people to Harper, expressing full support for Canada’s fight against terrorism. Jerusalem, too, had suffered a major attack that same day, resulting in the death of a three-month-old and several wounded.
In an address to Canadians on Wednesday, Harper said that “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.”
Canadian PM: Canada Will Never Be Intimidated
“Let there be no misunderstanding,” the Canadian leader stated. “We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.
“In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home.”
“Just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores,” Harper declared.
“They will have no safe haven.”
Following the attacks this week, Michael Mostyn, CEO of Jewish human rights organization B’nai Brith Canada, issued the following statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of our soldiers killed both in Ottawa and Quebec. The attacks this week have demonstrated that Canada is no longer immune to the danger of individuals harboring and propagating radical ideologies. As Canadians, we all have an obligation to stand up to the forces of homegrown radicalization and we look to government, police an security services to step up their fight against this very real and very dangerous threat.”
Author: Atara Beck
Senior Writer/Editor, United with Israel