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Canada Releases Full Video of Gunman Before He Ambushed Parliament Last Year

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police released on Friday the remaining 18 seconds of a video Michael Zehaf-Bibeau recorded of himself before he shot and killed a soldier guarding a war memorial in Ottawa in October.
Justin Ling
Montreal, CA
May 29, 2015, 8:30pm
Cole Burston/EPA

Canada's federal police service has finally released the full cellphone video taken by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau moments before the attacker stormed Parliament Hill in October and murdered a soldier.

In it, the 32-year-old Canadian-born man prays in fluent Arabic and asks for forgiveness.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police released part of the video in March, which shows Zehaf-Bibeau sitting in his car, just a few hundred meters from where he would begin his attack, withholding 18 seconds, at the time, for security purposes.

"In order to maintain the integrity of the ongoing investigation, the RCMP was limited in the amount of information it was able to publicly release," the federal police service said in a statement today. "We are now at a point in our investigation where we are able to share the full, unedited version of the video."

Recent reports from the Canadian Press quoted sources who claimed that Zehaf-Bibeau named individuals of Middle Eastern origin and called for fresh attacks within Canada. Those two details appear to be incorrect.

The previously-withheld sections, however — 13 seconds at the beginning, five at the end — contain Zehaf-Bibeau praying in Arabic.

"In the name of Allah the most gracious and merciful, All praise to Allah, the Lord of the universe." Zehaf-Bibeau begins. "We seek his help and ask for his forgiveness."

According to the RCMP, it withheld the sections of the video while it had analyzed the Arabic portions.

"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 news release said.

The service said it would not be commenting further on what they learned from the video.

"Lord, open for me my chest, ease my task for me and remove the impediment from my speech," Zehaf-Bibeau says in Arabic, according to the translation provided by the RCMP, as he appears visibly nervous and at times stumbling over his words in later sections of the video.

The first section of the video, which Zehaf-Bibeau recorded in a car that he purchased specifically in preparation for the attack, also contains a quick shot identifying where in downtown Ottawa Zehaf-Bibeau was parked. That information may have been of importance during the investigation.

In the English portion, which is already public, the Canadian citizen says the attack is in retaliation for Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan, and because "you guys have forgotten God and have let every indecency and things running [sic] your land."

In the five seconds at the end, which was withheld until today, Zehaf-Bibeau stares upward and mumbles in Arabic, "Lord accept from me and peace be upon you and upon the Mujahadeen. May Allah curse you."

The final shot is of the dashboard of the car, and an empty bag of potato chips is clearly visible.

Minutes later, armed with his Winchester .30 caliber bolt-action rifle and a hunting knife, he opened fire on the ceremonial guards at Ottawa's war memorial, killing Canadian Forces reservist Nathan Cirillo. From there, he managed to hijack a car and make it through the front doors of Canada's Parliament buildings, wounding a guard in the process.

He was eventually shot to death by security and police officers who surrounded him in the building's main hallway. Canada's prime minister was taking cover in the room next door.

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