Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Wednesday evening with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper following two terrorist attacks in Ottawa.
Netanyahu conveyed his condolences of the Israeli people on behalf of the slain and injured on Wednesday’s attack, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. He expressed his full support to Canada’s fight against terrorism, in which Israel and Canada are partners.
The perpetrator of the terrorist attack has been identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, a recent convert to radical Islam and an ISIS sympathizer.
A Canadian citizen born in 1982, Zehaf-Bibeau was recently designated by Canadian security officials as a “high-risk traveler,” meaning he was being watched in fear that he would commit crimes abroad. His passport had been seized.
Wednesday’s double attack began at the National War Memorial outside the Canadian parliament. A soldier in uniform carrying an unloaded rifle was shot four times by Zehaf-Bibeau. Later identified as Corporal Nathan Cirillo, he was taken by ambulance to Civic Hospital where he later died of his wounds.
A witness of the shooting, Tony Zobly, told media that the terrorist “raised his arms in triumph” after shooting the solder.
Zehaf-Bibeau then stormed the Center Block, the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex. While entering the building, he opened fire and was killed by House of Commons sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers inside the Parliament building.
The attack occurred one day after the Canadian federal government raised its domestic terror threat from low to medium, citing a rise in “general chatter from radical Islamist organizations.”
Harper was reportedly in the building when the first shots were fired after 10 am. The prime ministers spokesman confirmed that Harper was evacuated from the building. Meeting rooms near the entrance of the building were filled with MP’s holding discussions on how to crack down on homegrown terrorism.
Shooting Inside the Parliament Building
Addressing the nation after the attack, Harper called Wednesday’s shooting the second terrorist attack in three days.
“We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” he vowed.
“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,” Harper added.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman condemned the attacks and said in a statement, “The terror attacks which took place yesterday almost simultaneously at two sides of the world, Jerusalem and Ottawa, demonstrate again that terrorism is a worldwide epidemic that must be fought strenuously and without compromise.”
“Terror is not the result of building in Jerusalem, Ottawa, New York, Madrid, London or Mombasa, but of the war of radical Islam against the Western world. We stand alongside our friends in Canada, who have demonstrated by their firm stand alongside Israel and again recently in joining the war against ISIS, that they will not give in to terror. Israel, too, will remain firm in the fight against terror and terrorists.”
In Washington, US President Barack Obama condemned the shootings, calling them “outrageous.” He said that the US and its allies fighting against terror must “remain vigilant.”
The shooting comes two days after a 25-year-old convert to radical Islam ran over two Canadian soldiers near Quebec. The driver, Martin Couture-Roulleau, was shot and killed by police. Canadian authorities labeled the attack a terrorist incident.
Stephen Harper Addresses the Nation