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Ottawa terror payback for Harper's war in Iraq?

A woman gives CPR to the shot Canadian soldier at the War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday morning. Photo from Department of Defence

Canadians are on edge after the shootings in Ottawa, which comes one day after Canada sent war planes to Iraq and two days after an Islamic extremist killed one Canadian soldier and injured another. 

While the motivation behind the latest shooting remains unclear, some are drawing the connection with Canada's controversial entry into Iraq. 
The deceased shooter in Ottawa was reportedly identified as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. According to Reutershe was a Canadian convert to Islam from Quebec. Like the terrorist in Quebec, he is Canadian-born and not from Iraq.

Zehaf-Bibeau was was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. 

There is no evidence to date that ISIL was connected officially to the attacks this week. But both the suspects --  Martin Couture-Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau in the Ottawa shooting -- were said to have been 'self-radicalized'. 

Even though Rouleau was not in contact with ISIL, Islamic State supporters gave messages of support for his attack, which came one month after an ISIL spokesperson encouraged people to "kill" Canadians and "run over" a victim with a car. He was said to have posted ISIL flags on social media and wrote on Facebook that "disbelievers" were destined for the "fire of hell"

As for Zehaf-Bibeau, some argue that his actions were more likely a result of mental illness and that religion was not a factor. However, reports say he was reading ISIL messages calling for attacks, and ISIL sympathizers congratulated his shooting, saying Canada was "paying the price for intervention". He was known to hold "radical views", was in contact with an accused terrorist, and had recently applied for a passport to go to Syria. 

He was known to have been at odds with the Muslim community in Burnaby due to their tolerance and openness toward non-Muslims. 
"I don't necessarily believe there is a link between Ottawa shootings and Islamic extremism...but what's really sad about this whole debate as to how we decided to send the jets to Iraq. I put some blame on the Prime Minister," said University of Ottawa law professor and anti-terrorism law expert Errol Mendes.
While cautioning that the cause for the attack was not known, he said the recent terrorist attack in Quebec on Monday signals that Cana's entry into Iraq wasn't well debated.

"While I do support some element of combat activity against ISIL, I think what the Prime Minister did was counterproductive in terms of the potential ramifications (for security). The way he structured the whole thing was to make it very political and partisan. He wanted to be seen as a big, strong leader."
While reports say he had no links with ISIL, sympathizers of the extremist group were quick to react on social media. 
In response to a tweet by @AlArabiya_Brk saying (in Arabic): "gun shooting at Parliament Building and police secures the area", @bhag2014 -- whose name "Mohammad Atta succession" pays tribute to a 9/11 terrorist -- wrote back: "I have a strong feeling that the perpetrator is a supporter of IS in Canada."
Other accounts such as @Eyes_of_nation tweeted in Arabic that Canada was experiencing "horror in Parliament" because it bombed Muslim victims, apparently referring to the Iraq mission.

Twitter account of an ISIL sympathizer who posted a message about Islamic supporters in Ottawa earlier today. 

The Conservative government was extremely tight-lipped about its planned Iraq mission this month. When Vancouver Observer's Ottawa correspondent Matthew Millar asked Conservative minister Christopher Alexander about a secretive meeting on Iraq, he argued it was "impolite" for media to ask.
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