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City on lock down after soldier shot dead outside Canada's parliament

A huge manhunt is underway on the streets of Ottawa.

Updated 22.47pm

AN INVESTIGATION IS under way in Canada after one soldier was killed and shots were fired inside the national parliament building.

The soldier was shot at 9.52am local time (2.52pm GMT) as he was on duty at the National War Memorial, close to the national parliament.

Streets around Canada’s national parliament were closed off during the confused aftermath of the shooting, amid fears that there may have been a second gunman.

APTOPIX Canada Shooting AP AP

Immediately after shooting the soldier, the gunman ran inside the parliament building where he was shot dead by the sergeant-at-arms.

Officials identified the gunman as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, but gave no immediate details on his background. Canadian police would not speculate on a motive for the shootings.

In a press conference this evening, they would not confirm whether the suspect was a Canadian citizen.

SFAF Police press conference this evening. Screengrab / Sky News Screengrab / Sky News / Sky News

The police admitted that they were caught by surprise with today’s shooting.

Video captured by a reporter for The Globe and Mail newspaper shows an exchange of gunfire inside the Parliament Hill building shortly after the soldier was shot, with police running towards the direction of the shooting:

The Globe and Mail / YouTube

Ottawa Police this evening confirmed the two deaths, saying that the identity of the soldier will not be released until his next of kin have been informed.

“He was a member of the Canadian Forces,” police said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his loved ones”.

A large number of people remain inside the parliament building amid warnings from police to stay where they are.

Police are urging people to stay away from the area around parliament in Ottawa.  A number of streets in the area have been sealed off:

map http: / / http: / / / /

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has urged people to take extra care during the search:

Ottawa police confirmed to that the shooting began at 9.52am local time (2.52pm GMT).

Staff in the parliament building have been told to stay in their offices and hide. The building remains on lockdown this evening.

Heavily armed police raced to seal off the building and the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper immediately after the shooting.

An official confirmed that Harper had left the shooting area safely.

Tweet by @Justin Ling Justin Ling / Twitter Justin Ling / Twitter / Twitter

The shooting comes two days after a 25-year-old man ran over and killed a soldier in Montreal, in what the government said was a terrorist attack.

POLICE Canada PA Graphics PA Graphics

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson labelled the events a “sad and tragic day for the city and country”.

Additional reporting Associated Press and Christina Finn

Originally published 3.18pm

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