Abdullah Zehaf aka Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Canadian soldier as retaliation for the invasion of their countries, his cellphone video message explains
OTTAWA—The previously unreleased 18 seconds of killer Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s cellphone manifesto was filled with prayer, asking for help and forgiveness before he shot dead an unarmed soldier at the National War Memorial.
The video does not include any calls for similar attacks or provide any clues how Zehaf-Bibeau began his path towards extremism and violence.
Instead, in the parts that had previously been withheld by the RCMP — 15 seconds cut from the start and three edited from the end — Zehaf-Bibeau prays to Allah.
“All praises to Allah, the Lord of the universe. We seek his help and ask for his forgiveness,” he says.
“Lord, open for me my chest, ease my task for me and remove the impediment from my speech.”
The full video shows more religious comments from Zehaf-Bibeau than the edited version released by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson in March, which focused more on his political motivations for the attack — Canada’s intervention in Afghanistan and continued coalition bombing in Iraq.
THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO
The RCMP have released a previously secret 18 seconds of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s video message, which were edited out of earlier versions for security reasons.
He concludes with another prayer in Arabic.
“Lord accept from me and peace be upon you and upon the Mujahedin. May Allah curse you,” Zehaf-Bibeau said.
The video was filmed on a cellphone in downtown Ottawa as Zehaf-Bibeau sat in the front seat of a Toyota Corolla he recently bought.
Moments later, he drove to the National War Memorial, jumped out and opened fire, fatally wounding Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. He then crossed to Parliament Hill, where he stormed into Centre Block and was killed by security staff.
The RCMP had released the bulk of the video on March 6, but withheld 18 seconds as their investigation continued. RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said at the time there were “reasonable and sound operational reasons” for the edits, but said he could not explain them publicly at the time.
On Friday, the RCMP said they believed the edited content could determine how Zehaf-Bibeau was radicalized.
“The RCMP also needed time to fully analyze the language used, including the dialect of Arabic being spoken, consult subject matter experts and follow up on a number of investigative leads,” the RCMP said in a statement.
The force refused to answer questions on any “investigational results” from the content.
Wesley Wark, a security and intelligence expert at the University of Ottawa, called the decision to withhold the Arabic portions of the video “curious.”
“If they just wanted to make sure that there was no kind of coded message in the remainder of the video, that always seemed a little unlikely,” Wark said Friday.
“It just seems completely . . . puzzling.”
In the parts of the tape that were first released, Zehaf-Bibeau outlined his motivation for the attack on Canada’s Parliament. Appearing lucid and calm, Zehaf-Bibeau said Canada’s participation in wars and “occupation” in the Middle East have made the country his enemy.
“Canada’s officially become one of our enemies,” Zehaf-Bibeau said, not expanding on who else he was allied with, if anyone. He said he wanted to “hit some soldiers just to show that you’re not even safe in your own land.”
Minutes later, he had shot Cirillo dead and headed to Parliament Hill with an old hunting rifle and knife.