|Police sources confirmed this image tweeted from an ISIS
account depicts Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
The day after the attack we are learning more about Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain Muslim convert who shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in an attack on the Canadian parliament. The most stunning new information is that the terrorist had connections with Muslim extremists in both Syria and in Canada:
As the investigation of Wednesday’s shooting rampage in Ottawa continues, CBS News can report that his passport was revoked by Canadian officials after he contacted known militants in Syria, possibly with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
The Toronto Globe and Mail is reporting that while Zehaf-Bibeau had known at least one Muslim extremist in Canada his motivation may have been less of a terrorist than simply mentally ill. According to the report he told one friend that the devil was after him.
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Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau grew up in Eastern Canada, including Ottawa and Montreal, and had spent time in Libya before moving to Western Canada to become a miner and labourer, according to friend Dave Bathurst.
Mr. Bathurst said he met Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau in a Burnaby, B.C., mosque about three years ago. He said his friend did not at first appear to have extremist views or inclinations toward violence – but at times exhibited a disturbing side.
“We were having a conversation in a kitchen, and I don’t know how he worded it: He said the devil is after him,” Mr. Bathurst said in an interview. He said his friend frequently talked about the presence of Shaytan in the world – an Arabic term for devils and demons. “I think he must have been mentally ill.”
The last time Mr. Bathurst saw him was a month and a half ago and Zehaf-Bibeau was talking about going back to Libya so he could learn more about Islam. Soon after his passport was confiscated.
His father’s history offers a hint of what Mr. Bathurst was concerned about. In 2011, a Montrealer named “Belgasem Zahef” was quoted in a Washington Times dispatch from the front in Libya, where he had travelled to join the rebel fight. The man described being detained at the Zawiyah oil terminal, where he witnessed torture.
At the Burnaby mosque, Mr. Bathurst said his friend’s “erratic” behaviour – he did not elaborate – caused frictions with the elders at the house of worship, who asked him to stop attending prayers. At that time, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was living in a barely furnished single-room apartment.
According to Bathurst his friend knew Hasibullah Yusufzai, a Vancouver-area resident who was charged in July by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with traveling to Syria with the intent of joining a deadly terrorist group. Authorities have issued an international warrant for Yusufzai, but he remains at large.