Gunman who killed soldier and stormed Canadian parliament was on terror watch list
His name was on a terror watch list.
The gunman who killed a soldier and tried to storm Canada’s parliament on Wednesday has been identified in the Canadian media as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
The 32-year-old was considered a “high risk” suspect and had seen his passport seized to prevent him fighting abroad.
He was eventually shot by the assembly’s sergeant-at-arms.
The soldier who died at Zehaf-Bibeau's hand - Corporal Nathan Cirillo - was part of a detachment on ceremonial duties at Parliament Hill, the heart of Canada’s national government and home to its legislature.
He was mounting a ceremonial guard at a war memorial when the tragedy unfolded.
Corporal Nathan Cirillo's last post on photo sharing site Instagram.
Video footage that the Globe and Mail newspaper posted showed police ducking for cover as they advanced along a stone hallway, loud gunfire echoing among parliament’s stone columns.
The attacker was killed, reportedly by a shot fired by the bearer of the House of Commons’ ceremonial mace, Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers.
Lawmakers have hailed as a hero.
File photo of Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is pictured in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo: Reuters
Police said an investigation was continuing, but earlier reports that more gunmen were involved appeared unfounded.
Authorities had raised the security threat level from low to medium after an earlier car attack.
The latest incident came as Canadian jets prepared to join the US-led air armada bombarding Islamist militants in Iraq.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned that “facts are still being gathered” as he “condemned this despicable attack.”
In a televised later in the day, he vowed to redouble efforts against terrorist groups.
“Canada will never be intimidated. In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts... to fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores.” - Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a television address later in the day.
Lawmakers, staff and reporters evacuated from the building spoke of intense gunfire in the historic building on Parliament Hill.
Member of parliament, Maurice Vellacott, told AFP that House of Commons security said one of his aides the suspect had been killed inside parliament
“I literally had just taken off my jacket to go into caucus. I hear this ‘pop, pop, pop,’ possibly 10 shots, don’t really know,”
Other witnesses at the scene said they saw a man armed with a rifle running into parliament after shooting a guard at the war memorial.
South of Canada’s border, United States President Barack Obama condemned the attack as “outrageous” after talking by telephone with Harper, the White House said.
“We don’t yet have all the information about whether this was part a broader network or plan, or whether this was an individual or a series of individuals,” Obama said.
Canadian authorities have warned they are tracking 90 suspects.
Sources: AFP, Reuters, Twitter