Tags: Emerging Threats | War on Terrorism | Canada | Ottawa | terrorism | gunman | Parliament

Ottawa Awakening to a World Riled by Terror

By    |   Thursday, 23 October 2014 06:32 AM

The Canadian capital, described by its mayor as "one of the safest cities in the world," is struggling to come to grips with the scourge of terrorism, The New York Times reported.

Wednesday's rampage, which began with the fatal shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the Ottawa War Memorial and continued inside the nearby Parliament buildings, was carried out by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, a Quebec-born man who recently converted to Islam.

The gunman, who changed his name from Michael Joseph Hall and whose mother works for the Immigration and Refuge Board of Canada, had a criminal history involving drugs and robbery, the Mail Online reported.

Until Wednesday's attack there had been just four murders this year in Ottawa, a city of 885,000 people. Mayor Jim Watson told the Ottawa Citizen that the city is "still one of the safest cities in the world, not just in Canada."

Before Wednesday, the area around the Parliament was tranquil, with only light security allowing pedestrians to approach the building unimpeded. "I never thought this would happen," an unidentified woman told the Times. "This is Canada."

Now streets in the vicinity are strangely silent, shops are temporarily closed, and a heavy police presence blankets the area. Locals worry that the capital's culture of openness will be lost.

"I've always been kind of proud that you could just walk up to Canada's Parliament buildings," Patrick Snider, who works in Ottawa, told the Times. "They've gotten a little more secure over the years, but I was always proud that we don't have the same kind of security as in D.C. Now it'll be different."

An earlier terror attack was carried out Monday outside Montreal by Martin Couture-Rouleau, also a convert to Islam, who rammed his car into two soldiers, killing one of them. Authorities were aware that he posed a possible security threat, The Star reported.

Both attackers were killed by police.

Following the Ottawa shooting and Monday's vehicular attack, the Canadian military command instructed soldiers to avoid wearing their uniforms in public, the National Post  reported.

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The Canadian capital, described by its mayor as "one of the safest cities in the world," is struggling to come to grips with the scourge of terrorism.
Canada, Ottawa, terrorism, gunman, Parliament
341
2014-32-23
Thursday, 23 October 2014 06:32 AM
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