Most of the news accounts of the Muslim gunman who stormed the Canadian Parliament failed to mention his father fought alongside the Libyan rebels who overthrew Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in 2011.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, is being described as a convert to Islam who appears to have acted alone when he killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, at a war memorial and attacked the nearby Canadian Parliament building Wednesday before being shot dead by a heroic sergeant-at-arms.
NBC News reported Zehaf-Bibeau was born Michael Joseph Hall but changed his name when he converted to Islam at least 10 years ago.
Many news accounts report he is the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman.
In 2011, the Washington Times quoted Bulgasem Zehaf on the destruction that took place during the insurgency and war in Libya that year.
The Times described Zehaf as a Zawiyah, Libya, native “who recently returned to his home in Montreal after spending over a month in detention.”
“He was arrested in Zawiyah where he had gone to fight alongside the rebels,” reported the Times.
It was not immediately clear whether Zehaf fought with so-called moderate rebels or the al-Qaida-linked jihadists who comprise a significant part of the Libyan rebel movement and its leadership.
After the ouster of Libya’s Gadhafi in October 2011, the country saw the rise of al-Qaida-linked groups. Al-Qaida reportedly set up training camps in multiple Libyan cities, including in Benghazi, where the U.S. special mission was attacked Sept. 11, 2012.
According to the Globe and Mail, Zehaf-Bibeau was recently designated a “high-risk traveler” by the Canadian government, which had revoked his passport.
The Canadian government has not yet explained why the passport was pulled. However, earlier this month it was reported the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were investigating 63 national security cases and 90 individuals for potential terrorism ties.
Friday, the London Guardian reported Zehaf-Bibeau sought to obtain a new passport, claiming he wanted to travel to Libya.
It has been widely reported that Zehaf-Bibeau followed the Twitter account of Anjem Choudary, Britain’s most high-profile Muslim preacher, known for his support of al-Qaida-ideology.
The students of Choudary recently distributed pamphlets in the U.K. calling for British Muslims to join the newly declared ISIS caliphate.
Choudary rejected any link to Zehaf-Bibeau.
“I don’t have any idea who the fellow was yesterday, and there were reports a few days ago the one who ran over a couple of army personnel was following me on Twitter as well,” Choudary told Reuters. “The fact that someone follows you on Twitter does not mean you necessarily influenced him to do anything.”