Québec mosque shooting: five reportedly killed in Canada gun attack
Five people have reportedly been killed and several injured in a gun attack at a mosque in Québec City that the premier called a “terrorist act”.
The shooting was carried out by three attackers, witnesses said, and happened during evening prayers on Sunday. Police received the first calls just before 8pm.
Two arrests have been made, a police spokesman said. Local newspaper Le Soleilsaid police accepted a third suspect could still be on the run. Details of the death toll have not been released, however, the mosque’s president, Mohamed Yangui, said five people were killed.
One of the suspects was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and one was aged 27, Le Soleil reported.
At the time of the attack, about 40 people were thought to be in the two-storey building – the Québec City Islamic cultural center, also called the Grande Mosque de Québec, on Sainte-Foy Street. The mosque is equipped with several CCTV cameras.
Yangui, who was not inside the mosque when the shooting occurred, said he got frantic calls from people at evening prayers. He did not know how many were injured, saying they had been taken to different hospitals across Quebec City.
“Why is this happening here? This is barbaric,” he said.
The city’s police said the site has been secured and all occupants evacuated. A large security cordon has been set up around the site. Witnesses reported seeing heavily armed police entering the mosque after the shooting.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences to those affected by the “cowardly attack”.
The premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard, called the killings a “terrorist act” and said the government stood in solidarity with the city’s Muslim population. he tweeted: “#Québec rejects categorically this barbaric violence. All our solidarity to the families of the victims, the injured and their families.”
Canada’s public’s safety minister, Ralph Goodale, said he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths.
Local politician Manon Massé said: “We know little at the moment, but one or two people have assumed the right to kill our fellow Muslim Québec citizens. When intolerance goes from debate to murder, solidarity is essential.”
The mosque has been targeted before. In June, during the holy month of Ramadan, a pig’s head was left there. Weeks later, an Islamophobic letter was distributed in the vicinity.
But Yangui told the Edmonton Journal the mosque had not received any threats recently. “We have a very good relationship with the neighbours, with the community,” he said. “There’s mutual respect – and now today we have this dramatic event.”
Courtesy: The Guardian