Canada gunman praises Allah in unedited pre-shooting video
TORONTO (AP) — Footage released Friday of the gunman who killed a soldier at Canada’s national war memorial and stormed Parliament before being gunned down shows him asking Allah to praise his actions before last October’s attack.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police released 18 additional seconds of gunman Michael Zehaf Bibeau’s video message. That footage had been edited out of an earlier version released last October to give investigators time to analyze the dialect of Arabic he was speaking.
Zehaf-Bibeau shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, to death while he was standing guard at the national war memorial. Zehaf-Bibeau was eventually gunned down inside Parliament by the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons, Kevin Vickers.
At the beginning of the newly released footage, Zehaf Bibeau asks Allah to “open” his chest, “ease my task for me” and “remove the impediment from my speech.”
In the final five seconds, he prays again to Allah and curses those he is targeting.
“Lord, accept from me and peace be upon you and upon the mujahedeen. May Allah curse you,” he says, according to a translation provided by the Mounties.
Police said investigators originally believed these portions might explain how Zehaf Bibeau became radicalized. The Mounties said they needed time to analyze the dialect, talk to experts and follow up on “a number” of leads. The Mounties did not divulge the results of that work.
The October 2014 attack in Ottawa came two days after a man, described by authorities as an Islamic State group-inspired terrorist, ran over two soldiers in a parking lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring the other before being shot to death 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.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been ramping up anti-terrorism measures ahead of a federal election in October. Opposition parties have urged the Harper government not to curtail civil liberties
On Friday, the Conservative government announced Canada can now revoke the Canadian citizenship of dual nationals convicted of terrorism or other high crimes under a controversial new law.
The law, which went into effect Friday, would revoke citizenship for anyone found guilty of terrorism, treason and spying for a foreign government.
The government is also hoping to boost the powers of its spy service by passing legislation that would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service greater flexibility in tracking terror suspects abroad, as well as provide blanket identity protection for the agency’s human sources.