Security tight in Canada as police probe Parliament gunman's ties

Security tight in Canada as police probe Parliament gunman's ties

OTTAWA, Canada - Canada's capital faced a third day of heightened security on Friday as police searched for any clues that the man who shot and killed a soldier and charged into the parliament building had help in plotting his attack.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police ordered a detail of officers to remain with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, after it emerged that he briefly hid in a closet-like room during Wednesday's attack.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian citizen with a record of criminal drug violations was named by police as having carried out the brazen attack. He had undergone a"radicalization process" and applied recently for a passport, hoping to travel to Syria, police said.

He had no apparent links to Martin Rouleau, a 25-year-old convert to Islam who two days earlier drove over two Canadian soldiers, killing one, in Quebec, police said.

Both men were shot dead by security officers. RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said investigators had linked Zehaf-Bibeau to someone charged with what he called a terrorist-related offence.

He did not give details other than saying Zehaf-Bibeau's email was found in the hard drive of that person. "The investigation is ongoing and will rapidly determine if Zehaf-Bibeau received any support in the planning of his attack," Paulson told reporters on Thursday.

US officials said on Wednesday they had been advised Zehaf-Bibeau was a convert to Islam. Zehaf-Bibeau, who was born in Montreal and had gone on to live in Calgary and Vancouver, had travelled to Ottawa on Oct. 2 and was trying to secure a passport, said Paulson, who added that he had wanted to go to Syria but had been frustrated by a delay in issuing the passport.

Checks by the RCMP did not turn up any evidence of criminality related to national security, although he did have a record of infractions related to drugs, violence and other criminal activities, Paulson said.

Zehaf-Bibeau was not one of a group of 93 people the RCMP are investigating as "high-risk travelers," he added.

The attacks took place in a week when Canada sent six warplanes to the Middle East to participate in US-led air strikes against Islamic State militants who have taken over parts of Iraq.

Harper said the attack would only strengthen Canada's response to "terrorist organisations."

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