The Canadian Sergeant-at-Arms hailed as a hero for shooting the gunman who stormed Canada’s parliament last month visited Israel’s parliament Wednesday — and got a hero’s welcome there as well.
Kevin Vickers, in Israel for a security conference, met with his counterparts in the Israeli Knesset Guard and with members of parliament. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also met Vickers and praised him for saving lives with his quick actions.
“This terrorist attack proved once again that Islamic extremist terrorism knows no borders,” Netanyahu said. “Israel and Canada will continue to fight the forces of global terrorism.”
Vickers shot dead Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent convert to Islam, on October 23 after Zehaf-Bibeau killed a soldier posted at the nearby National War Memorial and then stormed parliament with a handgun and opened fire. Vickers, a 58-year-old former Mountie, shot Zehaf-Bibeau as he moved from behind a pillar to get a better shot at the sergeant-at-arms.
During his visit, Vickers also met with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
“On the day of the attack I spoke with my Canadian counterpart and expressed my concern,” Edelstein said. During their meeting, Vickers insisted that “thwarting the terror attack was not my act alone, but that of the entire staff, and we were proud of it.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper lauded Vickers, whose job — a mix of the ceremonial and the practical — encompasses the maintenance of safety and security in the Parliament complex where he was a familiar figure in a familiar figure in the chamber in his black robe and golden ceremonial mace on his right shoulder. Following his heroics, he became a household name across Canada.
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