Six dead, eight injured in shooting at Canada mosque

Quebec City police spokesman constable Pierre Poirier said two suspects were arrested after the shooting in Quebec City.

An ambulance is parked at the scene of a fatal shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City, Canada on January 29, 2017. Mathieu Belanger / Reuters
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QUEBEC CITY // Six people have been killed in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque in an attack Canada’s prime minister called an act of terrorism.

Police arrested two suspects.

More than 50 people were at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre at the time of Sunday’s attack. Some of eight wounded were gravely injured, Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Christine Coulombe said. The dead ranged in age from age 35 to 70, she said.

One suspect was arrested at the scene and another nearby in d’Orleans, Quebec. Police do not believe there are other suspects. They did not release the names of the two, and did not speculate on a possible motive.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec premier Philippe Couillard both described the attack as a terrorist act, which came amid heightened tensions worldwide over US president Donald Trump’s travel ban on several Muslim countries.

“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge,” Mr Trudeau said in a statement. “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.

“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”

Please read my statement on tonight's terrorist attack in Quebec City:

Mr Couillard said the ‘Muslim community was the target of a murderous attack’ and there will be solidarity rallies across Quebec on Monday.

Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre president Mohamed Yangui reported the number of dead late on Sunday in a telephone call from the provincial capital.

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume appeared visibly shaken.

“No person should have to pay with their life, for their race, their colour, their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs,” Mr Labeaume said.

Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre President Mohamed Yangui said the shooting happened in the men’s section of the mosque. He said he was not at the centre when the attack occurred, but he got some details from people on the scene.

“We are sad for the families,” he said.

The mayor of Gatineau, Quebec near Canada’s capital of Ottawa, said there would be increased police presence at mosques around his city following the attack.

The New York Police Department said it was stepping up patrols at mosques and other hours of worships in its city.

The NYPD issued a statement on Sunday night saying Critical Response Command personnel had been “assigned to extended tour coverage” at certain mosques.

“NYPD is providing additional protection for mosques in the city. All New Yorkers should be vigilant. If you see something, say something,” New York City mayor Bill Blasio said on Twitter.

“Our prayers tonight are with the people of Quebec City as they deal with a terrible attack on a mosque. We must stand together,” Mr Blasio said in another tweet.

Public safety minister Ralph Goodale said on Twitter on Sunday that he was deeply saddened by the loss of life. His office said no motive had been confirmed.

During Ramadan last year, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre.

* Associated Press