Six people have been killed after gunmen opened fire in a Quebec City mosque during evening prayers in what the Canadian prime minister called a ‘terrorist attack on Muslims’.
The shooting was carried out by at least two people wearing black at the Quebec City Islamic cultural center, witnesses said. Eight others were wounded.
Quebec City police spokesman Constable Pierre Poirier said two suspects were arrested, and officers do not believe there are others suspects at large, the BBC reports.
Earlier Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the shooting as a ‘terrorist attack’, saying he heard of the news with ‘tremendous shock, sadness and anger’.
He said in a statement:
We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.
While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.
Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims their families.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 30, 2017
The city’s police said the site had been secured and all occupants evacuated.
The president of the mosque, Mohamed Yangui – who was not inside when the shooting happened – said the attack happened in the men’s section of the mosque. He said an estimated 60-100 people would have been there at the time and added: “Why is this happening here? This is barbaric.”
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, who also referred to the shooting as a terrorist attack, condemned it as ‘barbaric violence’. He expressed solidarity with Muslims in Quebec.
Posted by Centre Culturel Islamique de QuÃ©bec on Sunday, January 29, 2017
The mosque has been targeted before. In June, during the holy month of Ramadan, a ‘gift-wrapped’ pig’s head was left on the doorstep with a note reading ‘bonne appetit’.
Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families at this time.