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OTTAWA — Stephen Harper says the two men with jihadist sympathies who launched separate attacks in Quebec and on Parliament Hill might not have been acting in isolation.

In a year-end interview, the prime minister tells the news network TVA that although Michael Zehaf Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau were each alone at the time of their attacks, it’s possible there were others around them.

Harper points to the recent arrest in Montreal of a 15-year-old boy who had been in contact with Couture-Rouleau via Facebook.

Couture-Rouleau fatally struck Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent with his car on Oct. 20; two days later, Zehaf Bibeau killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial before storming Parliament Hill, where he died in a gunfight.

Harper shrugs off questions about his personal experience the day Zehaf Bibeau exchanged gunfire with RCMP and Parliament Hill guards, with weekly party caucus meetings taking place just metres away.

Unlike his colleagues, Harper says, he is privy to intelligence about threats he and the country faces, and receives RCMP training to prepare for such situations.

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