A Canadian soldier standing guard at a war memorial in the capital Ottawa was shot dead on Wednesday. Gunfire also erupted inside Parliament and authorities say at least one gunman was killed.
The heart of the Canadian capital was thrown into panic and placed in lockdown on Wednesday after a gunman armed with a rifle or shotgun fatally wounded a corporal guarding the tomb of an unknown soldier at the National War Memorial, entered the nearby Parliament building and fired multiple times before he was shot and killed.
However, the Canadian Government was quick to declare that there is no evidence so far that a gunman who attacked Canada's parliament had links to Middle Eastern Islamist extremists.
Foreign Minister John Baird has said that gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was "certainly radicalized", but was not on a list of high-risk individuals.
Zehaf-Bibeau killed a soldier at Ottawa's war memorial before being shot dead in the nearby parliament building. Police have released video showing how the gunman stormed parliament.
It seems that Canada is getting its own doze of medicine for sympathising with terrorism in countries such as Sri Lanka.
It was unfortunate that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was compelled to hide in a cupboard in Parliament for about 15 minutes during Wednesday's attack as Canadian MPs sharpened flagpoles to use as spears against the gunman.
Canadian Foreign Minister Baird had said that there were no substantiated claims yet that Zehaf-Bibeau was associated with Islamic State.
Baird said he was "tremendously concerned about the number of Canadians who are radicalised and are fighting in Syria or Iraq, but we don't have any evidence to link the two at this stage".
Reports suggest that well in excess of 100 Canadians have gone to fight for jihad in the Middle East and that's a huge concern, according to Baird. He also said Zehaf-Bibeau could have done much more damage than he did.
"For several minutes it was complete horror, complete terror, we didn't know whether the door was going to be kicked in, whether there was one or a group of people," he was quoted as saying.
Daniel Lang, chairman of the Senate national defence and security committee of Canada had said that it was an ordeal he would not recommend anybody endure - there was just a wall's difference between where we were and where they were. He said the incident had "shown our vulnerability and the reality that life here has changed dramatically".
Lang said most parliamentarians had been calling for greater security and "this event proves there should be". The Canadian MPs had flanked the doors of their meeting room, preparing to attack the gunman with sharpened flagpoles.
"These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in," the source had said.
Canadian Prime Minister Harper had to seek shelter in a cupboard - described as little more than a 'cubbyhole' in the Centre Block after the gunfire rang out.
Though we condemn the terror attack and extend our solidarity to Canada in this hour of grief, we would like to once again stress the need to have a collective worldwide attempt to crush terrorism and incidents of this nature. This is where the international community could obtain the first-hand experience and the expertise of Sri Lanka - the only country to crush terrorism and one of the safest places in the world.
Instead of making the best use of Sri Lanka's expertise and its immense battlefield experience in confronting the world's most ruthless terrorist outfit, certain Western countries including Canada held a different view, showing an extraordinary concern regarding the human rights of LTTE terrorists killed during the humanitarian battle.
It was a pity that the LTTE rump was able to mislead the Canadian Prime Minister and keep him away from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo last year, citing alleged human rights violations during the final phase of the battle against terrorism. Canada should learn a lesson at least now and should desist from swallowing the concocted stories dished out by the Tiger cohorts in the West.
With the advent of terrorism in Canada, the Harper administration will now introduce anti-terrorism laws before its Parliament. Those who shouted from the rooftop when Sri Lanka introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to combat the LTTE terror will now have to eat humble pie.
At least at this late stage, the international community would understand that Sri Lanka had done the right thing to protest its 21 million people by introducing the PTA.
"We will not be intimidated," Harper had said in a television address Wednesday night. He initially linked the attacks to radicalism inspired by the Islamic State and called them "despicable."
It was the second deadly assault on a uniformed member of Canada's armed forces in three days. The Ottawa attack heightened fears that Canada, a strong US ally in the campaign against the Islamic State militant group convulsing the Middle East, had been targeted in a reprisal, either as part of an organised plot or a lone-wolf assault by a radicalised Canadian.
The US law enforcement authorities had said that their Canadian counterparts had identified the assailant as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who had changed his name from Michael Joseph Hall, and said he had been a convert to Islam.
President Barack Obama Wednesday afternoon addressed the attack on the Canadian Parliament. Obama said the situation in Canada was tragic, adding that he had spoken to the Canadian Prime Minister and has expressed condolences on behalf of the US.
Obama has said that attacks in Canada had emphasised the degree to which they have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terror. "I pledge as always to make sure that our national security teams are coordinated very closely, given not only is
Canada one of our closest allies in the world, but they're our neighbours and our friends," Obama said adding that the US and Canada must be in sync when it comes to terrorist activity, just as they have in the past.
"We're going to do everything we can to make sure that we're standing side by side with Canada during this difficult time," Obama was quoted as saying.
We would like to emphasise that Sri Lanka too would share similar views when it comes to eradication of terrorism and would support any country which seeks our expertise and knowhow to defeat terrorism.
As President Mahinda Rajapaksa had told the UN General Assembly a few years ago, terrorism in any part of the world is terrorism and should be eradicated in similar fashion. There are no good terrorists and bad terrorists.
Terrorism in any part of the world is terrorism that brings nothing but agony to innocent people. Hence, the international community should not show any mercy to any of the terror groups in the guise of protecting human rights.
Unfortunately, some of the Western countries which are at the receiving end of international terrorism, cared less when Sri Lanka was at the receiving end. They were either mislead or pampered the LTTE rump for votes of the Tamil Diaspora, turning a Nelsonian eye for merciless terror attacks in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka had to wage its own battle to protest 21 million people from ruthless LTTE terrorist group which targeted innocent civilians with massive bomb explosions. If not for the political sagacity of President Rajapaksa and the supreme sacrifices of the Security Forces, Sri Lanka would still have been subjected to those attacks.
Thanks to the right military strategies of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was a tower of strength to the Security Forces, Sri Lanka was able to vanquish the deadliest terrorist outfit in the world. Does Sri Lanka need any other credential to become the world leader in eradicating terrorism?
Unfortunately, some of the powerful nations in the world were either feeling shy or reluctant to gain Sri Lanka's expertise in the worldwide battle against terrorism. Had they obtained the expertise of the true sons of our soil, countries such as Canada, the US and the UK would have overcome terrorism by now.
Instead of making the best use of Sri Lanka's first-hand experience, some of the Western countries intimidated Sri Lanka by levelling baseless human rights allegations against Sri Lanka's valiant Security Forces. They used human rights as an effective tool to intimidate countries such as Sri Lanka which does not dance to the melody of the West.
The European Union too would soon feel the danger of lifting its ban against the LTTE. It is not that late for the European Union to reconsider its decision as it is they who would face the repercussions. Thanks to the political and military leaders of our country, Sri Lanka has a strong shield and network to face future threats of terrorism.
But actions such as the lifting the ban on the LTTE will have immediate dangers to the West. Hence, the European Union must give yet another consideration on the lifting of the LTTE ban as it will be they who would face the first danger as a result. They should not mix human rights and terrorism by believing the concocted stories of the LTTE sympathisers.
Courtesy: Sunday Observe