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Canada's PM stands firm on terror

Updated: 2014-10-24 08:00
By Agencies in Ottawa and Canberra (China Daily)

Harper: Attack on Parliament will boost resolve to keep nation safe

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed the country would "not be intimidated" after a reported Muslim convert stormed Parliament and killed a soldier, the nation's second "terrorist" attack in days.

The gunman, whose name was on a terror watch list, attempted to force his way into Canada's Parliament on Wednesday before the assembly's sergeant-at-arms shot him dead.

The attack - the second this week targeting Canadian military personnel - came as Canadian jets were to join the US-led bombing campaign against Islamist militants in Iraq.

"Canada will never be intimidated," Harper told the nation in a televised address after the shootings on Wednesday.

"In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe," he said.

The spectacular security breach came two days after an alleged Islamist ran over two soldiers in Quebec, killing one of them, in what officials branded a terrorist attack.

In audio of the attack on Parliament, repeated shots could be heard booming through its chambers.

The suspect, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau who was said to be a convert to Islam, had a record of drug offenses and robbery.

Dave Bathurst, who met the 32-year-old Zehaf-Bibeau in a mosque about three years ago, said his friend did not at first appear to have extremist views, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported.

But he said at times he exhibited a disturbing side.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said it appeared the shooter had acted alone.

Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy confirmed on Thursday that police were satisfied there was one attacker. Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau told CBC that "there is no longer a threat to public safety."

Lawmakers, staff and reporters, evacuated from the Parliament building, spoke of intense gunfire inside.

Paul Clarke, a builder who was working in the building at the time, said, "It's just been a nightmare."

A member of Parliament, Maurice Vellacott, said that House of Commons security had told one of his aides the suspect had been killed inside Parliament.

"I heard this 'pop, pop' - possibly 10 shots, I don't really know," Liberal Party member John McKay told reporters outside.

Australia hikes security

Australia stepped up security around Parliament House on Thursday and Prime Minister Tony Abbott expressed solidarity with Ottawa after a gunman attempted to storm Canada's legislature.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the government will boost security measures around Canberra's Parliament buildings on top of a recent tightening of measures imposed after Australia last month raised its terror alert level from "medium" to "high".

"There will be an enhanced Australian Federal Police presence around the building," Keenan told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"We will obviously continue to monitor the situation to make sure the deployment around the building is appropriate for what we assess to be the risk."


Canada's PM stands firm on terror 

A tactical vehicle leaves the security perimeter on Wellington Street, just a couple of blocks from Parliament Hill, on Wednesday in Ottawa, Canada. At least one gunman shot and killed a Canadian soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial before entering the House of Commons inside the main Parliament building and opening fire.  Mike Carroccetto / Getty Images / Agence France-Presse


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